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Bakersfield man thanks early parole for helping turn his life around

Local Prop 57 opponents say initiative to release
Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 20:47:02-04

"I look for vacant land like this," said Kevin Burns, a real estate investor, "I look for vacant land like this where I can build apartment complexes."

He was born in raised in Bakersfield and makes it his commitment to improve his community.

But it took him a life-changing event to realize this was his true path in life.

"I was in prison for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine."

Burns was sentenced to almost 20 years for a non-violent crime.

"Instead of locking people up and throwing away the key, we need programs to help people and find jobs for people. That's what we need," said Burns.

And that's something proponents of Prop 57 say the initiative would do.

It would also increase the chance of early parole for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes, such as drugs or theft, who have a clean prison record.

But both the Kern County Sheriff's and District Attorney's Offices argue - that's not the case.

"There are no more low level or non-violent offenders left in state prison," said District Attorney, Lisa Green.

Opponents claim the proposition would help release violent and dangerous criminals.

"It will have an impact on three strikes law. When you have people who have three violent felonies. How many victims are we going to allow? How many chances are we going to give someone to change their life," said KCSO Sheriff, Donny Youngblood.

But Burns, who has been through the system said, non-violent felons deserve that second chance.

"He's not out to hurt no one. He made a mistake and I hope that he realizes that he made a mistake and betters himself."

Information for PROP 57 click here.

Information against Prop 57 click here.

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