Explained by Topo Padilla of Greg Padilla Bail Bonds
Proposition 47 (pdf) is a ballot measure that was passed in California and is called The Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Schools Act. It was based upon diverting money from sending people to prison and jail to you know doing things our schools and for our neighborhoods and to essentially make them safer.
The reality is, is that it’s kind of had a polar opposite effect. And the basis was that instead of sending people to jail or to prison, we were going to put them in drug rehabilitation and give them all the necessary tools to be better people and then they weren’t going to get in trouble and that people in the future weren’t going to get in trouble. Well the reality is that hasn’t happened… that’s just a harsh reality. I mean people like myself I’ve been in this industry for 32 years, um people don’t want to stop doing drugs… until they want to stop doing drugs. People don’t want to stop drinking until they want to stop drinking.
People living in that criminal world are going to steal, they’re going to shoot, they’re going to do all those things until they want to make a change in their lives. So, if you don’t have that stick of: you’re going to go to jail or you’re going to go to prison and you have it lined up with we’re going to give you teddy bears and lollipops and you’re going to go to these classes… that just does not work. and it hasn’t worked.
It (Prop 47) redefined many, many crimes that used to be felonies that are now misdemeanors. And if you do not think the people out there in the criminal element and the criminal world don’t know that… you are greatly mistaken. Because when they go out and steal, they do look for the fact that they want to steal less than $950 because it’s now a misdemeanor.
What law enforcement is doing in respect to this, and I can’t blame them, is they don’t want cops to go out and go out there and grab these people with these certain crimes and arrest them, take them to jail and spend all that time away from the streets when in fact the district attorney’s office’s probably won’t prosecute them because they have been inundated with all of these misdemeanors. So DA’s office, the district attorneys, are not prosecuting so these people are basically, you know if they are taking to jail, are being let free because nobody’s prosecuting them.
So the fact of the matter is it really and truly has had a polar opposite effect. Our streets are not safer are neighborhoods are not safer our schools certainly aren’t safer. It has not worked. It needs to be looked at. This legislature, this governor, and the people that were behind this, need to accept responsibility that it didn’t work, it’s not working and we need to make a change.
You know the citizens of California deserve better. And they certainly don’t deserve to be victims because of some political dream that is not coming true. I have to say in closing on this subject, that the people out there committing these crimes, the people that have these drug problems you know really and truly if there’s a stick it may change their mindset and they may change their ways. And without that stick, they are not going to change their ways. And then I’ve got to say it’s harming them more than doing them good. Because there is no stick that they might end up in jail or prison, so why in the heck should they quit. So in reality, our whole community from the victims to the perpetrators, to people like myself… we are all being affected by it. And we’d you need to see a change in Proposition 47.