On November 6, 2012, California voters passed Proposition 36. Almost 70 percent of voters supported its changes to the “three strikes and you’re out” mandatory minimum law, which required a life sentence for a third offense, even if it was minor or petty (e.g., stealing a slice of pizza). Proposition 36 requires that mandatory minimum life sentences can only be imposed for a third strike if the third conviction is for a serious or violent felony. The reforms were also made retroactive, allowing judges to reduce sentences for about 3,500 prisoners serving life for non-serious or non-violent third convictions, if the person does not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety. Proposition 36 is projected to save the state $70-$100 million annually.

How You Can Advocate for Sentencing Reform in Your State

You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.

Encourage your state lawmakers to support mandatory minimum sentencing reform. Be sure to connect with FAMM and other sentencing reformers on Facebook, Twitter, and by signing up for our email list.

Sentencing/Criminal Justice Reform Groups in this State:

March 6, 2015

Sentencing Reform Overdue in California

(Orange County Register) — In 1994, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 184, the “three strikes” initiative. The measure, supported by 72 percent of voters, requires individuals previously convicted of serious felonies to be sentenced to longer prison terms. The initiative required a de facto life sentence following the third felony conviction. In practice, this has… Read more »

November 15, 2014

‘Walking out of jail’: Prop 47 Frees Felons with Downgraded Charges

(Al Jazeera) — Within days of Californians’ overwhelming approval of an initiative that knocks low-level felonies down to misdemeanors, life behind bars is ending for hundreds of felons and felony suspects. Public defenders throughout the state kicked into overtime, working even on Veterans Day to handle thousands of cases of people awaiting verdicts or already… Read more »

March 18, 2014

State Politicians Need to Get Past Tired Tough-on-Crime Rhetoric

(The Sacramento Bee Editorial) — Alabama has one. So do Virginia, Utah, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and 16 other states, as does the federal government. But not California. We’re a laggard when it comes to overhauling prison sentencing. This state needs to establish a commission to make sentencing of convicted criminals consistent, proportionate and in keeping with… Read more »

December 12, 2013

There is still time to call the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee!

The bill markup scheduled for December 12 has been pushed back to December 19 – that means that there is still time to call your Senators! If you live in one of the states listed below, please call your Senator’s offices so they can hear your support of S. 1410, the Smarter Sentencing Act.   On Thursday,… Read more »