NPR public radio station KQED released an article lauding the results of Proposition 47, which was passed last November and resulted in a number of inmates being released from state prisons and county jails. But KQED managed to complete the piece without mentioning crime. The piece states loftily of Prop 47, “So far, it seems to be working.”
Prop. 47 took crimes such as drug possession, shoplifting, and theft of less than $950 and altered their status from felonies to misdemeanors. Inmates who were convicted of those crimes had their sentences reduced, allowing many to roam free again. KQED blithely states, “The result: fewer inmates in state prisons and county jails,” then quotes the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) gushing that starting in 2016, Prop. 47 will save California $100 million to $200 million every year. Furthermore, KQED rejoices, “The LAO believes Gov. Jerry Brown’s new state budget underestimates the reduction of inmates due to the implementation of Prop. 47.”
Just how wonderful is Proposition 47, according to KQED? “While the governor assumes a reduction of 1,900 inmates in 2015-16, the LAO believes that number could be as high as 5,000.”
“The LAO report also found that Prop. 47 will likely reduce the costs of criminal justice for counties, by freeing up jail beds and reducing the time probation departments need to follow prisoners after they’re released.”
KQED concludes, “Of course, just three months into its implementation, it’s way too soon to say what the unintended consequences and unexpected costs could be from Prop. 47. That said, so far, so good.”
Now for some hard facts that KQED ignores: According to The Fresno Bee, after Prop. 47 was passed and immediately went into effect, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said that in the first ten months of 2014, auto theft was down 26%. But last November, it was up 7.8%, and in December 9.8%. He added that burglaries showed the same tendency to increase. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said property crime started spiking after Prop. 47 passed.
In Pasadena, the number of crimes in November totaled 336. But in December, that number rose to 383, and in January 2015, it was registered at 379.