This post, More on California's Fatally Flawed Criminal Justice "Reform" Measure, by Kent Scheidegger, first appeared on at http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/.
The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board has advocated for criminal justice reform more often than any other editorial board in California in recent years for good reason. The U.S. has more — to much more — crime than nations with less punitive judicial systems, and in California, tough-on-crime policies from the 1990s have led tens of thousands of people with salvageable lives to be warehoused in prison long after they posed a likely public threat.
Even so, in 2016, our board could not bring itself to endorse Proposition 57, a deeply flawed measure Gov. Jerry Brown trumpeted as a big step forward for the criminal justice reform movement. The problem was that the measure was originally supposed to target juvenile justice, but it was revamped into a much broader constitutional amendment that stated anyone convicted of a nonviolent felony offense would be eligible for early parole consideration. A lower court ruling said the changes were unacceptable, but in June 2016, the California Supreme Court overturned the ruling on the grounds that a 2014 state law allowed flawed measures to be fixed before being put before voters.
Now we know how flawed this measure truly was.
It takes a lot for a major California newspaper to denounce a criminal justice “reform” measure. They generally march in step with the soft-on-crime crowd. I hope we see more newspapers marching to a different drummer as the truth becomes more clear.