Proposition 6 would alter California law to increase penalties on certain crimes in the state. It would change California's parole system by lowering caseloads for parole agents and would require the state to pay for the tracking of convicted Sex offenders. Proposition 6 would also expand juvenile sentencing and crime prevention.
Proposition 6 would introduce new law enforcement programs as well as mandate that specific existing crime programs stay at current funding levels unless increased in the future. The measure increases state funding for law enforcement, including police departments, sherriff's offices, jails, and district attorneys offices. The increases would come to approximately $365 million in 2009-10. Proposition 6 also requires that state funding for some of the specified programs be adjusted annually for inflation. State and local governments would be prohibited from using Proposition 6 funding replace funds now used for the same purposes. All together, the measure requires the state to pay $965 million for new and existing criminal justice programs in 2009-10.
Proposition 6 specifies that the new and existing funding be used on the following areas:
- Construction and maintenence of county jails.
- Contracts to help parolees reenter society.
- Renovation of juvenile facilities.
- Monetary awards to individuals who come forward with information on crimes.
- Creation of narcotics, gangs, and guns task forces.
- Background checks on all individuals receiving federal Section 8 house assistance.
- Creation of centers to assist investigations into child abuse.
Gang Participation and Recruitment
Proposition 6 substantially increases penalties for a variety of crimes, especially crimes related to gang participation and recruitment. For example, gang members convicted of carjacking, extortion, home invasion or threats to witnesses could be subject to life terms in prison. Offenders who are part of a gang who recruit new gang members would receive an additional five years in prison if the person recruited was under the age of 14. Offenders who are gang members and convicted of a felony would receive double the penalties while gang members who commit violent crimes would recive ten additional years added to their sentence.
Possession and sale of methamphetamine, vehicle theft, intimidating court personel, and possessing a concealed weapon would also carry increased penalties under Proposition 6. The measure would define all methamphetamine possession a felony and those convicted of sale, possession for sale, and transportation of methamphetamines would receive an additional year on their prison sentences. Those convicted of car theft would receive an additional year under the measure if they intended to sell the stolen vehicle. Offenders who have multiple car theft convictions would generally be denied probation. The proposition would raise the prison terms for those who are found guilty of intimidating a witness, a judge or other person court personel during court proceedings. Certain convicted felons could receive an additional ten years in prison for possession of a concealed weapon. Finally, unathorized removal of a GPS device worn as part of a convicts probation, would now be considered a misdeemeanor or a felony.
Parole System and Other Changes
Currently in California, offenders are released on parole for a set time period based on the offense they were convicted for. The majority of offenders serve a maximum 3 year parole term with the possibility for an extended term if the parole board deems it necessary. Many offenders can also be discharged early from parole if they avoid committing additional crimes. Parolees who violate terms of their parole may be returned to prison by the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH). If parolees commit new crimes after their release from prison, they can also be found guilty of violating parole. Proposition 6 makes two significant changes to the state's parole policy. Parole agents now have an average of 70 parolees at any one time. Proposition 6 would reduce this number to 50 parolees per parole agent. The measure would also require the state to pay the cost of GPS monitoring of convicted sex offenders.
Juvenile sentencing and crime prevention would be expanded under Proposition 6. Juveniles who are charged with certain gang-related crimes could now become eligible for adult crimminal court and adult sentences. Proposition 6 would also mandate that all counties that receive state funds for juvenile crime prevention programs must create juvenile coordinating councils. These councils would develop plans on how to supervise and provide services for juvenile offenders.
There are several other changes introduced by Proposition 6. The measure would alter current procedures to make it easier for law enforcement agencies to bring lawsuits against members of gangs. The state would be mandated to develop two databases containing gang information for use by law enforcement. Criminal background checks of all public housing residents would be required at least once per year. Heresay evidence would receive a wider berth of admissibility in trials, especially when there is evidence of witness tampering or intimidation. Temporary jail facilities would be built to house offenders if county jails are overcrowded. Illegal immigrants charged with gang-related felonies could not receive bail before a trial.
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Public Opinon Resources
Pros & Cons (League of Women Voters)
Audio and Video
Center for Governmental Studies