Fresno County DA applauds supporters of Prop 47 amendment

Coalition behind the Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act submits initiative to ballot with more than 900,000 voter signatures

A voter placing their ballot into a ballot box at a polling station. (bizoo_n / AdobeStock)
A voter placing their ballot into a ballot box at a polling station. (bizoo_n / AdobeStock)
Mid Valley Times Staff
Published April 20, 2024  • 
10:00 am

SACRAMENTO – A surge of voter signatures has propelled an initiative aiming to amend California’s decade-old Proposition 47, giving it the push it needed to get it onto the November election ballot.

Californians for Safer Communities, the coalition backing the initiative, announced on April 18 that it would submit well over the required number of voter signatures to the California Secretary of State’s office to qualify the initiative. According to a press release, the coalition is submitting more than 900,000 signatures from registered voters when it only needs slightly less than 547,000 signatures.

“The overwhelming number of people who eagerly lined up to sign these petitions are speaking to the legislators in Sacramento to tell them they are not satisfied with their soft-on-crime policies, and that they want repeat offenders to be held accountable by police, prosecutors and judges,” Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said. 

Known as the Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act, the initiative is supported by numerous law enforcement associations and county district attorneys. Some of its top funders include corporations such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target. 

Prop 47, which passed in 2014, was intended to place a focus on violent and serious offenses in the criminal justice systems while “maximizing alternatives” for nonviolent crime, according to the text of the act. It reduced penalties for nonviolent crimes and downgraded the level of certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and aimed to use money saved by the state correction department to fund crime prevention programs in schools.

Californians for Safer Communities said that Prop 47 “achieved notable success in making California’s criminal justice system more equitable; however, it led to unintended consequences over the past decade … that can only be corrected by the voters at the ballot box with commonsense changes to Prop 47.”

According to the press release, the initiative would deter individuals from becoming repeat offenders and would redirect addicts toward treatment, not incarceration.

“This bi-partisan movement to amend Prop 47 and begin to restore accountability to thieves and illegal drug abusers is just the beginning of what needs to be done to restore law and order to the state of California,” Smittcamp said.

Mid Valley Times Staff