Prop 36: Three Strikes Reform
Prop 36: The Basics
Proposition 36 is made of five main provisions that results in the reform of California’s Three Strikes law, which imposes a mandatory minimum 25 year sentence for a person convicted of any felony and has two or more strike priors. Under the new scheme:
- A life sentence may be imposed only when the new felony qualifies as serious or violent.
- Third-strikers who are convicted of a non-violent felony would receive twice the usual term for the new offense instead of the current mandatory 25 year minimum.
- Offenders currently serving life sentences would be eligible for a reduced sentence if their third strike was not serious or violent.
- Life sentences would continue to be imposed for certain nonserious, nonviolent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession.
- Life sentences would continue to be imposed for felons with nonserious, nonviolent third strike if the prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.
About Prop 36’s Fiscal Impact
Proponents of Proposition 36 point to the fact that fewer inmates would be housed in state prisons for life sentences because of the requirement that the third strike be a violent felony in order to qualify for the 25 to life mandatory sentence. Coupled with the fact that some current inmates may be eligible for reduced sentences upon review; Proposition 36 would reduce the overall prison population. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the reduced prison population would save the state $70 million in prison and parole operations.
Opponents, however, point to the fact that costs for probation and high recidivism rates are taken up on a local level. The fiscal effects are therefore uncertain.
California voters approved the Three Strikes Law in 1994 as Proposition 184. Under the Three Strikes law, so-called “second-strikers” are sentenced to twice the term otherwise required for the new conviction. 2004’s Proposition 66 served as an attempt to revise certain aspects of the sentencing law, but voters defeated that effort 52.7% to 47.3%. As of June 30, 2012 there were 8,873 Third Strike and 32,585 Second Strike felons in state prison.
A previous Proposition 36 successfully passed in 2000 which relaxed the three strikes law to allow qualified defendants convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses to receive probation in lieu of sentencing so long as they comply with ongoing drug treatment requirements. The present three strikes law.
Pedro Rosado Mike Reynolds
Learn More about Prop 36
Committee for Three Strikes Reform
Save Three Strikes
P.O. Box 4163
Fresno, CA 93744
Prop 36 Full Text