Praise Release of Nonviolent Offenders from Overcrowded Prisons


Target: Jerry Brown, Governor of California

Goal: Applaud the success of a measure which allows the release of nonviolent, petty offenders from prison.

The state of California has released over 2,700 prison inmates that were incarcerated for petty, nonviolent crimes thanks to Proposition 47, a ballot measure approved by voters last year. The proposition reclassified nine low-level felonies as misdemeanor crimes, thereby decreasing the punishments that come with them. Since the move, California has been able to reach their court-ordered goal of reducing prison population to 137.5 percent of intended capacity one year earlier than planned.

Since November of last year, employees of California’s justice system have been working to release people incarcerated for small, nonviolent crimes such as possession of drugs, though charges will remain for those found to be possession of “date rape” drugs including rophynol and GHB. Those found guilty of shoplifting or theft of less than $950 will also have a chance at release, as will  those found guilty of minor check fraud or forgery charges. Each prisoner that is released under Proposition 47 will be expected to complete one full year of probation after they are released.

The move will not only give low-level offenders a fresh start at their lives, but improve conditions within California’s over-capacity prison system. With a smaller prison population, corrections officers, medical staff, and mental health providers can administer an improved level of care. The entire justice system will benefit, including the courts and police who now have more resources to dedicate to more serious matters. Sign the petition below to applaud California’s progress with Proposition 47 and urge the continued release of prisoners who pose no significant threat to society.


Dear Governor Jerry Brown,

Over the past four months, Californian officials have freed nearly 3,000 inmates from crowded state prisons. Those freed were found guilty of petty crimes such as shoplifting, minor theft, or the possession of a small amount of drugs intended for personal use. In order to ensure the convicts successfully reintegrate into society, they will be placed on probation for one full year.

Proposition 47 allowed thousands of low-level offenders a second chance at freedom and has successfully lowered prison populations to a court-ordered 137.5 percent of intended capacity. While still overloaded, the prison system will have more resources to allocate to more serious offenders. We, the undersigned, applaud the success of Proposition 47, and ask that you continue toward decreasing the population of petty offenders in state prisons.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ori via Creative Commons

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76 Signatures

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