SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Proposition 20 would increase penalties for certain property crimes and repeated parole violations and it would make it more difficult for some convicted felons to qualify for early parole and release.
Prosecutors across the state are divided over whether it’s the right approach to tackle certain crimes.
Iryna Gorb in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood has been witnessing more car break-ins and other kinds of theft and she, along with her boyfriend, is thinking of voting Yes on Prop 20.
“We don’t feel protected and we don’t feel that the law or the district attorney is on our side and we feel like those criminals are still out and about,” Gorb said.
While Proposition 20 would have no effect on home burglaries it would allow prosecutors to charge other crimes such as serial shoplifting and car thefts of more than $250 as felonies, rather than misdemeanors.
“Thefts across the state are off the charts,” said Sacramento district attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
“Prop 20 will lead to an increase in the prison population and that will take money away from programs like drug treatment, mental health and trauma recovery centers for victims,” said Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen.
“When you become a serial thief then we’re going to say … we’re going to elevate that to a felony and what we call a wobbler but we’re not going to send you to prison but make sure you get yourself into drug court,” Schubert said.
“We’re looking at over $50 billion a year that will be going toward the criminal justice system to address all types of crime. In the decades that we’ve been making that kind of investment we’ve had less than 1 percent go to victim services,” said Tinish Hollins of Californians for Safety and Justice.
Also, under the proposition, collecting DNA samples of convicted adults for misdemeanors by law enforcement would be expanded.
“If we can collect DNA from those types of offenses we can solve rapes and murder,” said Marie-Schubert.
Under current law only adults arrested for felonies or convicted of sex crimes are required to submit to DNA tests.
Former San Francisco district attorney George Gascon is opposed to Proposition 20.
Gason says it’s evident that prison guard organizations and law enforcement associations are the ones “banking Prop 20” and that they’ve benefited in past decades from taxpayer dollars with propositions like 20.