Felonies are now harder to commit in California thanks to Prop 47

California is leading the way to incarcerating fewer people and preventing the “felony” label by increasing the amount of money involved in a crime to be classified as a felony.

Here’s the update from our partner EPOCA- Ex-Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement, and a notice of their Dec. 6 meeting.

Greetings!

Before our next gathering on December 6, we wanted to share with you some good news and inspiration: You’ve probably already heard about California voters’ dramatic approval of Proposition 47 this month, but you may not know some important facts about it:

  1. What it Does:  Proposition 47 requires a misdemeanor sentence rather than a felony sentence for theft under $950 and for certain low-level drug offenses.  This new law also requires the state of California to track the resulting savings from reduced incarceration, and channels those funds into three important services: truancy prevention; victims’ services; and treatment for mental illness and addiction.  For more details click here

How Proposition 47 Happened:  Not surprisingly, it took very difficult organizing work, done by a lot of people.  This included leadership from PICO California, which is a powerful network of faith-based community organizations and a sister of our own Massachusetts Communities Action Network.  It would also not have happened without strong leadership from our sisters and brothers in the Labor Movement.

What it Means for Us in Massachusetts:  Many of us have been following the work in California for some time and have seen it as a model for what we can do here.  The Jobs Not Jails research team has been hard at work crafting legislation using Prop 47 as a framework, Our legislation will be based on the needs we face in Massachusetts, as expressed by the many active participants in Jobs Not Jails.

For nearly two years, Jobs Not Jails has involved a melding of two grand strategies: movement-building and legislative campaigning.  There is a natural tension between these two historic approaches to organizing, with differences in objectives, targets and tactics.  They are even based somewhat on different analyses of power.  We have many things to work out together in coming months, starting with our collective vision and mission.  This will allow us to look deeply at the different strategies before us and chart our course together.  This work will not be easy nor quick, but it will be sure to be inspiring and transformative for all of us involved.
I hope you will join us for the next Jobs Not Jails gathering:

Saturday, December 6
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Freedom House
5 Crawford Street
Dorchester, MA 02121

***Please note that, to honor and welcome all who attend Jewish services on Saturday mornings, future Jobs Not Jails gatherings will be held later in the day.***

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