Plan to change Three Strikes law moves toward November ballot

California voters may once again have the opportunity to change the state’s three-strikes mandatory-sentencing law.

An initiative to change the law has been cleared to gather petition signatures, a potential step toward the November ballot. The proposed change would reduce the sentences of some currently serving time, and reduce prison time for those who are convicted of nonviolent felonies and already have two prior felony strikes.

In an economic analysis of the measure, the state’s legislative analyst said the initiative, if passed, would save the state money but could increase costs for local governments.

“The changes would result in state prison savings, potentially ranging up to the high tens of millions of dollars annually in the short run, possibly growing in excess of $100 million annually in the long run,” the analyst’s report said.

At least some of those savings would be offset by increased court and jail costs for counties, the analyst wrote.

Proponents of the measure must now gather more than 500,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. California voters rejected a change in the law in 2004.




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