California's prison system is crowded and expensive, two things that Proposition 36 on the November ballot hopes to change. But first they'll need to make the case that the revisions the measure proposes are really necessary.
Dan Newman, an advocate and spokesman for the Yes on Prop 36 campaign, notes that California's prison population has grown sharply in the years since the first Three Strikes law was adopted in 1994. The changes in the new initiative, he says, would also address prison crowding problems.
Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch has some serious concerns about Proposition 36's provisions for reviewing the sentences of current inmates. She believes that both present prisoners and new offenders should have their individual circumstances reviewed on a case by case basis to ensure that the punishment fits the crime.
Currently, Ravitch adds, judges and prosecutors have considerably latitude in how they weigh any previous "strikes" a defendant may have. And a good deal of that stems from a case that originated in Sonoma County.