California voters passed Proposition 47 in 2014. The ballot measure reduced low-level drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors and promised to inject "hundreds of millions" of dollars into mental health and substance abuse treatment as an alternative to incarceration for former inmates and would-be inmates. But the law came with few strings attached – county agencies were not required to track how many old felony convictions were reduced, how many inmates freed by Prop 47 re-offended or what kinds of crimes they committed, nor how much money was saved and redirected into alternatives for incarceration. While district attorneys and law enforcement officers up and down the state decried the effects of Prop 47 on local crime rates, state agencies and local agencies had little to no idea what was Prop 47’s actual impact. The USA TODAY Network-California worked to find answers to the question: How did Proposition 47 affect criminal justice in California?
Originally published on desertsun.com
Directed, edited and produced by Kristen Hwang. Video contributed by Anthony Plascencia, Jay Dunn and Jay Calderon.