San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer came out Wednesday against Proposition 57, a statewide ballot measure proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would allow for the early release of prison inmates convicted of specified nonviolent crimes.
Such inmates would be given parole consideration after completing the prison term for their primary offense, or the crime that carries the longest punishment. That could lead to earlier releases for offenders sentenced for multiple crimes, according to opponents of the measure on the November ballot.
At a news conference with crime victims advocate Marc Klaas, Faulconer said people convicted of domestic violence, hate crimes and human trafficking would be among those eligible for early release.
“We’re here because every family deserves to feel safe in their homes, and every person deserves to feel confident that they can walk down the street at night,” Faulconer said. “And every victim of a crime deserves to see their assailant serve time behind bars.”
Supporters of Proposition 57 say the ballot measure will save money by reducing prison spending, prevent federal courts from indiscriminately releasing prisoners because of overcrowding and place an emphasis on rehabilitation, especially for juveniles.
Faulconer called prisoner rehabilitation “a goal that is worthy and worth pursuing.”
“But instead of rehabilitating criminals, we believe it will re- victimize Californians who will see their attackers released from prison,” the mayor said. “It directly undermines the California Bill of Rights, (which was) overwhelmingly enacted by the voters of California … based in the concept that crime victims should be able to reasonably expect criminals to serve their full sentences.”
Faulconer said Prop 57 could discourage victims from reporting crimes, due to fear of early release and further victimization.
The mayor and Klaas — whose daughter Polly was kidnapped from her home and strangled in 1993 — were joined by representatives of the California District Attorneys Association and District Attorney offices of Ventura and Merced county.
Many law enforcement organizations have come out against the ballot measure, which also contains a provision that would have juvenile court judges determine whether minors can be tried as adults for crimes, instead of prosecutors.
—City News Service