Last year, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 47, a landmark ballot initiative to reduce incarceration in the nation’s largest – and most costly – prison system, and invest in prevention. Proposition 47 changed six low-level crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and mandates that the prison costs savings this generates be invested into treatment, youth programs and trauma services. Now significant numbers of young men and women, most of them of color, will no longer serve time in prison for these nonviolent offenses, and many hundreds of thousands of Californians with old criminal records will have the opportunity to remove the barriers they’ve faced to jobs, housing and more to improve life outcomes.
Not only will implementation of the measure reduce the size of our prison population, but also, according to independent analysts, there will be an annual savings of between $400 million and $700 million at the state and county levels. The state savings will be shifted into K-12 school programs (25 percent), trauma recovery services for victims (10 percent) and mental health and drug treatment (65 percent). Communities can help decide how to use these resources.
In just the first four months, the impact of the proposition is already visible. More than 3,000 people have been released from state prisons, county jail populations have dropped by about 25 percent, and thousands of people are getting their old felony convictions removed. But there is still a long way to go to ensure effective implementation. Much needs to be done to ensure everyone who stands to benefit from the measure can benefit, that the reallocation happens according to voter intent, and the path is paved for deeper reforms in the justice system and to advance community health.
Full implementation of the Proposition also requires a “rethink” or “ redesign” of how we serve young people - from drug treatment programs to behavioral, mental health and education services. And these are some of the places where philanthropy can play a role.
Hear from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Lenore Anderson from Californians for Safety and Justice, Pastor Michael McBride from PICO, and foundation leaders about the implementation of Proposition 47 and the important role it plays in the future of our state.
- Learn what the proposition does and the impact it will have in the State of California
- Hear why this is one of the most important policy reforms that the State has undertaken and how it can transform the lives of young people
- Explore the opportunities for philanthropy to play a significant role in the implementation of the measure and reshape the systems that serve young men and women
- Learn how this is a major step in reshaping our criminal and juvenile justice systems to better meet public safety goals for our communities
Lenore Anderson, Executive Director, Californians for Safety & Justice
Pastor Michael McBride, Director for the Lifelines to Healing Campaign, PICO National Network
Honorable Libby Schaaf, Mayor of City of Oakland
Fred Blackwell, CEO, San Francisco Foundation
James Head, President and CEO, East Bay Community Foundation
Timothy P. Silard, President, Rosenberg Foundation
Funders who are interested in social justice, youth, health, education, movement building, public policy, advocacy, civic engagement, and issues facing boys and young men of color.
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