292015Jan

Misinformation About Prop. 47 [Letter to the editor]

Dear Editor,

It was troubling to see that local law enforcement officials are misinformed about the Prop. 47 — and that their claims would misinform County Times readers.

The offense of bran-dishing a weapon was not affected in any way by Prop. 47. And law enforcement still had the discretion to book someone into county jail for misdemeanors if they are deemed a threat to public safety — and jail them for up to a year if convicted.

Equally important, officials must respect the will of voters: Six in 10 passed Prop. 47 because our justice system’s overuse of incarceration was breaking the bank, breaking up families but not breaking the cycle crime.

Prop. 47 will finally bring new investments into treatment and prevention strategies that can make us safer. Local public safety officials are critical for realizing the promise of this voter-passed initiative, so we hope that they will, in good faith, work with others in the community to create a justice system that is more effective and more fair.

Prop. 47 is a vote for redemption and against mass incarceration. Prop. 47 provides low level nonviolent offenders with an opportunity to not only avoid having their records permanently tarnished by a felony conviction that can hinder job opportunities, but the reinvestment of funds unto mental health and drug rehabilitation services can provide more people in our community with a chance to get the assistance and support they so greatly need to turn their lives around.

BY: PASTOR PHIL JENKINS, PASTOR JUAN URIOSTEGUI, & CLERGY MEMBERS IN THE MERCED ORGANIZING PROJECT.