The way it is now - In 1994, California voters adopted a “three strikes” law that defines strict sentencing for a person’s third felony conviction. If a person has two violent or serious felony convictions, their sentence for any third felony conviction — not just violent or serious felonies — is life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years before the possibility of parole.
What Prop 36 would do if it passes:
Reduce the sentencing for some third non-violent, non-serious felony convictions.
Instead of life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years before the possibility of parole, the sentence would be twice the usual prison term for that felony.
Prop 36 would also allow those previously sentenced for a third non-violent, non-serious felony to apply for resentencing.
Authorize re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if their third strike conviction was not serious or violent and if the judge determines that the re-sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.
Effect on the state budget:
Savings could be between $70-90 million every year, because fewer people would be imprisoned for life, and some current inmates would get sentence reductions. The cost of court activities for resentencing could be a few million dollars in the first few years.
People for Prop 36 say (www.fixthreestrikes.org):
Prop 36 would make the punishment better fit the crime.
Prop 36 would save money and resources for schools and law enforcement, instead of wasting it on life sentences for non-violent offenders.
People against Prop 36 say (savethreestrikes.com):
Prop 36 would allow the release from prison of dangerous repeat criminals previously sentenced to life terms.
The three strikes law has reduced the state’s crime rate and prevented criminals from being recycled through our courts over and over again.