SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, a career law enforcement official, is behind Prop 47, a November ballot measure that would reduce some non-violent drug and property crimes from felony to misdemeanor status .

KCBS’ Jane McMillan asked Gascón for an explanation of why a “law and order” leader would be in favor of lighter sentences and less prison time.

“First of all, it doesn’t impact serious or violent crimes at all. Number two, we’re asking the voters, should we continue the kind of money we’re spending incarcerating people that are not necessarily a threat to our society,” he said.

Prop 47 would reduce drug possession to a misdemeanor when evidence shows the possession was only for personal use and it changes the value at which property crime goes from a misdemeanor to a felony–from $450 to $950.

Gascón said the amount accounts for inflation and said that the savings would go directly to public safety programs.

“The savings are estimated to be somewhere between $150 million to $200 million a year that goes back into a fund that counties or cities can use in order to implement their own programs to for mental health issues, for substance abuse problems and K through 12 education,” he said.

Gascón discusses Prop 47 and other public safety issues that he thinks can be handled more effectively with technology and innovation. Listen to the entire interview here:


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