This year, voters were given the opportunity to start swinging back toward stricter penalties — and opted not to.
Proposition 20 would have given prosecutors new powers to charge certain non-violent crimes as felonies and made it harder for long-time inmates to qualify for early-release consideration. As of late this afternoon, the measure is down by 24 points with the vote count continuing, and the Associated Press has projected its defeat.
That’s proof, Prop. 20 opponents say, that Californians are still committed to a more progressive vision of criminal justice. Chief among them: former Gov. Jerry Brown, who spent his most recent stint as governor pushing for that vision and who spent millions to defeat the measure.
“In voting down Prop. 20, California voters signaled once again that they believe most human beings can turn their lives around if given the chance,” Brown said in a statement released on election night.
Voters also backed Proposition 17, a measure to give Californians on parole the right to vote.
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