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As California Assemblyman Jim Patterson seeks to amend 2014’s Proposition 47 based on claims that the new law is causing increased crime, KPFA interviews Mike Males about CJCJ’s alternate conclusion. This March, CJCJ released a report comparing the decreases in county jail and state prison populations after Prop. 47 passed to crime rates in California’s 68 largest cities. The results show that the relationships between Prop. 47-related drops in incarcerated populations and crime rates were too variable to draw any conclusions about Prop. 47’s affect on crime.

There were some cities that had decreases in crime and some cities that had increases in crime, but whether Proposition 47 was affecting their jail populations or state prison populations didn’t seem to have any relationship to whether or not they had an increase or decrease in crime … It isn’t like there was one effect across the state which we could link to a proposition that took effect statewide.” — CJCJ’s Mike Males 

Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 2369, attempts to change several Prop. 47 provisions. It would allow a judge to convict someone who committed an offense that Prop. 47 changed to a misdemeanor (drug posession, petty theft, shoplifting) three times over the course of one year, with a felony. The bill would also amend Prop. 47 to change all gun theft offenses to felonies. 

Prop. 47 has unfortuntely created a misplaced sympathy for criminals, and it has created a perverse reality. And the reality and is that Prop. 47 is not doing what the proponents said it would. It’s doing just the opposite. — Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson

Read CJCJ’s full report Is Proposition 47 to Blame for California’s 2015 Increase in Urban Crime?” »