Free the 3,000+ nonviolent inmates still imprisoned under "three strikes" in California
This petition had 2,549 supporters
Despite the fact that Californians have voted three separate times to release or resentence nonviolent offenders, more than 3,000 remain imprisoned under the state's draconian "Three Strikes" law — the so-called "tough-on-crime" law which sentenced three-time felons to 25-years-to-life prison sentences, even if the third felony was for drug possession or a minor theft.
Unfortunately, the language written into well-intentioned ballot initiatives like Proposition 57 (passed in 2016), Proposition 47 (passed in 2014), and Proposition 36 (passed in 2012) left behind many "third strikers" and also allowed the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the courts broad authority over their implementation — authority which has been used to deny appeals for early release, resentencing, or early parole consideration for three strikes convictions.
For example, because of CDCR's blanket authority on interpreting the new laws, Prop 57 ended up not being fully applied to third strikers, and Prop 36 (which removed a third strike for certain non-violent offenses), did not affect inmates with a “serious,” but non-violent third strike. Instead, they were lumped into the same category as murderers and rapists!
Because of these injustices, Unite the People began crafting its own law in 2017, The People's Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act.
The California Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) scored our bill and found that it would release three thousand+ nonviolent inmates in the first year with potential savings to the state of more than $100 million every year.
Nonviolent third strikers are also among the least likely to re-offend, far below the national average at less than 2%.
If CDCR refuses to listen to the will of the people, we hope that Governor Jerry Brown will take action and commute the sentences of as many of these nonviolent third strikers who have been left behind as possible.
We also encourage a state legislative fix based on the language of our proposition. If these requests aren't met, we plan to immediately begin signature gathering for the People's Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act with a goal of appearing on the 2020 ballot.
Until then, we need as many voices as possible added to this petition to show Governor Brown, CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan, and the California Assembly and Senate that the people are serious about real reform.
Finally, as a nonprofit organization with thousands of members in California, we have been approached by dozens of families seeking help for their loved ones who have been unjustly incarcerated under the Three Strikes law.
Below is a link to list of names of incarcerated nonviolent third strikers who have asked us for help. We will continue adding to this list as more requests come in, as well as highlighting individual stories on our website. A more complete version of the list will also be mailed directly to Governor Brown.
While we acknowledge that these individuals did commit a serious offense, they have all served their time in an exemplary fashion, and their lengthy sentences are unjust. We hope our efforts will aid in highlighting their situations and in fulfilling their commutation requests.
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