By Michele Hanisee
Early polling shows Gov. Jerry Brown’s dangerous felon-freeing initiative is being supported by state voters, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. The falsehoods the Governor continually repeats-that his initiative only applies to “non-violent” felons-has crowded out the truth. Two-thirds of the people surveyed said they agreed with Proposition 57’s goals of freeing “non-violent” felons, while just 26 percent said they were opposed.
The ADDA sounded the alarm early on about Brown’s misguided bid to free thousands of dangerous felons from state prisons. Under this initiative, felons would be eligible for parole after serving the sentence for their primary offense, regardless of any enhancements that had been added onto the sentence, and regardless of previous strikes for brutal crimes such as rape and murder.
Though disturbing, the poll results should not be surprising. Opponents have raised virtually no money, while Brown has hauled in $7.5 million in support of the initiative. The Governor, knowing that his initiative is complex and that he has received no pushback about his demonstrably false statements from journalists, is also using his political muscle to reduce opposition to a simple “no position.” As an example, last month the governor maneuvered to quell potentially powerful opposition to it from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) to take no position on the measure – even though the California District Attorneys Association strongly opposes it.
It’s unfortunate that media in this state has refused to ask Brown the tough questions about his initiative. When the Governor chastises a county sheriff for correctly identifying a dangerous inmate eligible for release, you would think that might pique some journalist to critically examine the initiative. As Deputy District Attorneys, we understand all the Penal Pode sections affected, know the inner workings of the criminal justice system, and have done our best through our blogs to expose the truth. However, absent media scrutiny, voters will simply accept the false assurances of the Governor as to the scope of his initiative. Failed policies such as Prop. 47, which reduced a number of serious felonies to misdemeanors and is widely seen as a contributing factor to the recent surge in crime statewide.
If Prop. 57 passes, you can bet it won’t be long before there’s a direct link between its perverse provisions and an even greater explosion in crime than we’re already seeing. Combined with Prop. 47, it could deal a brutal blow to safety and security in every California community. When the voters realize the Governor misled them on the scope of his initiative, it will be too late.
Sadly, the people who will be hammered hardest by this latest disastrous experiment will most likely be low-income, minority neighborhoods that are already battered by disproportionally high crime rates. The hardened criminals who will reap the benefits of Brown’s folly will be unleashed on the poor, primarily minority neighborhoods to prey upon the hard-working residents.
If there’s any silver lining to this week’s Prop. 57 news, it’s that the poll is the first public poll on this measure. But with the election less than seven weeks away, it should nonetheless be deeply disturbing news to everyone who cares about public safety. We can only hope that the media pins the Governor down on the specific sections of his initiative, and runs his explanations by those such as us who can explain in detail if the answer is accurate. We believe the public would have a different reaction to Prop 57 if there was a factual explanation of its scope.
Please share this or our other related blogs on social media. To read or share the blogs, please click on the hyperlinks below: (1) Prop 57-A “Criminal’s Bill of Rights.” (2) Governor Brown, Time to Debate Prop 57 (3) Jerry Brown, Line 1 – It’s Your Flawed Initiative Calling (4) Proposition 57 Unmasked: A Detailed Analysis of the Misleading Initiative (5)Those Who Care About Victims of Sex Crimes Should Oppose Gov. Brown’s Initiative (6) Stanford Sexual Assault Case Typifies California’s New Approach to Criminals (7) Governor’s spokesperson confirms his initiative will allow early release of violent inmates (8) Gov. Brown: Longing for the 70’s (9) Governor Brown’s Power Grab (10) The truth will defeat an oft-repeated lie (11) Low-income communities will be devastated by felon-freeing fiasco (12) L.A. Gangs Will Love Governor’s Ballot Initiative (13) Felon-freeing initiative advances (14) A Radically Dangerous Experiment with Public Safety and (145 Wait in Line Governor