A few years ago, voters passed Propositions 47 and 57 to declassify several types of crime to “non-violent” or “non-serious” crimes. That meant that writing bad checks, possessing drugs, raping an unconscious person, and grand theft up to $950 were now considered less serious and carried lighter sentences.
Very soon, we saw two things. First, smash-and-grabs and petty theft, which had been on the decline for years, started picking up. As long as the stolen property was less than $950, the police couldn’t do anything. In 2018, crime reached new levels in San Francisco with a theft every twenty minutes.
That also meant criminals convicted of those crimes were suddenly eligible for early release. That included those individuals convicted of child trafficking, convicted of raping an unconscious person and those convicted of attacking a peace officer and more. Suddenly they were free to leave prison sooner, released back into our neighborhoods and communities.
Many of the legislators who backed this legislation will tell you they did it to help rehabilitate people and give them a chance at a better life. Many of them had good intentions, no doubt. But good intentions can bear serious unintended consequences, like increased violence and the rearrest of many of these same criminals.
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