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What is Proposition 47?

The Genesis Disrupt the School to Prison Pipeline is aiming to listen, learn and act to end Youth Incarceration in Alameda County. This post is the first of a series of our political analysis.

Proposition 47 was passed by California voters on November 4, 2014. It reduces specific drug possession, petty theft, receiving stolen property, and forging/writing bad checks when the amount involved is $950 or less from felonies to misdemeanors. Prop 47 also allows people already serving a felony conviction for these crimes to petition the court for re-sentencing.

In addition, Proposition 47 allows a person who has completed his/her sentence for the specified offenses to file an application before the trial court to have the felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. However, offenders cannot petition a court if they have previous convictions for sex offenses, murder, attempted, assault with a machine gun on an officer, or any serious or violent crime punishable by a life sentence or death. Eligible inmates who petition the court are required to be re-sentenced unless the court finds an unreasonable risk to public safety.

According to the NAACP, the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is nearly 6 times that of whites. Prop 47 will aid in decreasing disparities in incarceration by helping minorities reduce their sentencing. This will decrease felony disenfranchisement, reduce felony reports to possible employers, and lessen the difficulty in finding suitable housing for minorities who have been wrongly convicted felons.

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