THE PEOPLE’S FAIR SENTENCING AND PUBLIC SAFETY ACT OF 2018

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THE PEOPLE’S FAIR SENTENCING AND PUBLIC SAFETY ACT OF 2018

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Initiative by

WE THE PEOPLE ORG.

www.wethepeopleorg.com

(888)245-9393

LETTER OF INTENT

CALL FOR JUSTICE

The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018 is a proposed ballot initiative aimed at curbing wasteful spending of precious tax dollars through safe and sensible sentencing reform. For decades our state has needlessly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars by implementing irrational sentencing laws. Indeed, the cost of imprisoning each of California’s 130,000 inmates is expected to reach a record $75,560 in the next year, more than enough to cover the annual cost of attending Harvard University!* Failure to properly address the prison crisis has led to a decline in budgeting for education, public health care, social programs and other areas of concern.

At the forefront of this dilemma is California’s controversial “Three Strikes Law”, Enacted in 1994, the Three Strikes Law was touted as a mechanism for incapacitating violent repeat offenders such as child molesters, rapists, and murderers. However, certain provisions in the law have lead to many nonviolent offenders being sentenced to gratuitous “life sentences.” As a result, millions of precious tax dollars are being needlessly wasted annually to house nonviolent, low risk, and aging inmates.

This is magnified by the manner in which the penal code classifies certain crimes. In some cases, property crimes such as burglary and robbery do not involve any violence yet are classified as violent felonies. This act seeks to rectify this illogical practice by amending the penal code to make a distinction between violence and nonviolence. Under federal guidelines this very distinction exists; 18 USC 3559 (3)(H)(i), (ii). The amendments will serve to protect nonviolent offenders from suffering miscarriages of justice.

In November of 2016, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 57, which many believed would remedy prison overcrowding and save taxpayer’s dollars by offering a chance for early release to “all nonviolent” offenders. However, CDCR and state officials disregarded the will of California voters and arbitrarily excluded nonviolent third strikers notwithstanding Propositions 57’s clear mandate.

The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018 reinforces the will of the People by:

  • Saving hundreds of millions of tax dollars which will be reinvested in education to offset sky high college tuitions. Some of this money will also be allocated to lower education institutions with designs on better educating our youth.
  • Investing in rehabilitation, and youth crime prevention programs.
  • Requiring resentencing as second strikers for third strikers convicted of nonviolent crimes. This entails sentencing the defendant to double the time the crime normally carries, plus any additional sentence enhancements that were used in the original sentencing hearing.
  • Comporting with current resentencing regulations that promote public safety concerns by ensuring that child molesters, rapists, murderers, and other dangerous offenders remain behind bars.
  • Alleviating prison overcrowding, and federal intervention.

It’s time to stop playing on the public’s fears, and time to implement smart and safe strategies to combat the injustices we face today. Locking up nonviolent, low risk, offenders and throwing away the key is not conducive to liberty, justice, and the American way. Indeed, fair sentencing is a catapult for positive change in our justice system. By focusing on the expansion of educational opportunities, rehabilitation, and crime prevention programs, The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018 validates the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Perhaps by removing some of the causes we might end the effect.

 

*The press democrat: Monday, June 5, 2017, p.A5, by Don Thompson Associated press

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CREDITS
#1 Lizzy Stewart: Mom / activist
#2 Geri Silva: Activist formed facts and fair chance program
#3 Jeremy Stewart: Son- offender- victim of California’s unfair sentencing laws.
#4 Bill Roberts: Former Los Angeles former Los Angeles DA
#5 Gretchen Burns Bergman: New Path and Mom United
#6 James Whitehouse: appellate attorney
#7 Dan Liffick : Executive producer/Director

124 COMMENTS

    • Roberta, unfortunately, CDCR has watered it down causing many non-violent offenders to be left out. Even though enhancements wouldn’t be counted in the early parole process, the entire C file is taken into consideration during the review.

  1. Roberta peppler once the governor gave CDCR the lead on deciding how and who to process for the prop.57 it seems as if “ALOT” of what was supposed to be is not happening….. That’s why we the people org. has created “THE PEOPLE’S FAIR SENTENCING AND PUBLIC SAFETY ACT OF 2018.

    • Under The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act. Enhancements will be allowed, but the life sentence, and parole board hearings will be eliminated which will effectively grant instant relief to vast majority of nonviolent third strikers who qualify under this act.

    • Right now the organization is forming a “initiative committee” that will serve as the think tank as far as the direction the initiative, as well as the planning of the initative and the direction taken…as well as any plans of raising funds or popularity….

    • With champions like you Gabriela!!!! That’s how we’re going to get it out there. You were a champion with Prop 57. We’re bringing it to “The People” so stayed tuned because we need our heroes!

    • Changing the laws requires a step by step process. In other words we must take one bite of the apple at a time. Prop 57 removes all enhancements​ from non violent offenders with “determinate sentences,” The passage of this act will allow nonviolent former 3rd strikers to qualify for the removal of their enhancements, consecutive sentences​, etc, under the provisions of Prop 57 as they will no longer have indeterminate sentences.

      • How will this new initiative help someone with a prior with 10-15 years between each violent crime second one shooting in a dwelling and nobody got hurt? We they remove enhancements because of a prior? Well this still be considered a violent crime?

        • It won’t necessarily change anything for someone under those circumstances. However, the committee is working on possibly adding an enhancements pkg. to the initiative.

          • Devohn, simply put, this initiative will require that in order to receive an indeterminate sentence your 3rd strike must be a truly violent offense. The initiative committee may add more to it in the future. This will help at least a couple thousand people. What are you suggesting?

          • I guess it all depends what is being considered non violent? An assault with a deadly weapon but no injuries second offense. This is what I’m interested in.

          • Will this help someone who was sentenced under the 3strikes, juvenile strike at that and is considered violent offender?

    • We the people org, is working hard to get this initiative on the ballot. Check this site for updates or call the toll free number to see how you can contribute to making this initiative a success Valerie.

  2. Now we need this to pass more than ever. Because cdcr just released the permanent regulations this morning and they made no changes 😡.

  3. Gabby, wethepeople are currently making arrangements to launch our social media, and fundraising campaigns. We’re gonna need signature gatherers in order to get this initiative on the ballot.

  4. What’s going on. I tried to called to see what it’s going on if we don’t have any new news on this we can’t help or do anything, we need to be inform.

    • Right now we are in the process of negotiating with the ground level campaign people and assembling the committee that will be commissioned to move this is initiative forward, it will take a couple of weeks to get everything in place, and we definitely welcome any ideas or assistance from the people so if you have any input or ideas about something to assist in moving this initiative forward please contact us at 888)245-9393, we will always listen to the people.

    • Will this take away the authority that the pbh has my kids dad was approved under prop 57 but the parole board hearing denied his early release due to pass cases which is not fair because he was approved for prop 57

      • Neither the PBH or CDCR will have any say so whatsoever under this measure. Once it passes, all those who qualify will be resentenced by the Courts.

  5. I think we need to get on the ballot for the state of California to allow inmates to go up for parole after serving 1/3 of their sentence like the other states ! It doesn’t mean they will get approved but allow our loved ones to show that they have changed and made a small mistake ! The only people that get to go up for parole is ppl with indeterminate sentence like 15 years to life .. they go up after 15yrs , but some one who was charged for instance burglary who got 8+7+8+4=27 yrs (determinate) never goes up for parole 🤔🤔🤔 how does that even make sense ?? that person that received 27yrs may be a changed person after serving 9 yrs they should get a chance to show that , also we need to fight for a credit change , do you know that if a person has 20 yrs and only been in jail 5yrs , the credits they are receiving is falling off the back not the front , meaning if they qualify for SB261 and they have 5 yrs credit and was charged 20 yrs for burglary, and they get 2 years credit for school they don’t have 7 yrs going into 20 yrs pushing them closer to the 15 yr mark so they can go up for parole , instead the credits fall off the back so they have 5 yrs going into now 18 which means they still have to do 10 yrs to get to 15 yrs to go up for parole under sb261 instead of with the credits they have to do 8yrs to go up for parole , they system is playing our loved ones and it’s time we get this on track !!!! Also people who remove themselves from a gang and have to get protective custody for trying to better their life needs equal opportunity to work their time off with (fire camp) which is not available to them , in which it is unfair also , can we get this in there too ?

  6. Are you guys looking into where the big money 💰 is going to come from because without money we can’t move forward with this.

  7. California teachers association, the Democratic Party association.the Facebook guy. Try to contact this organizations.

    • Thanks, wethepeople intend on soliciting aid from any organization who wants to lend support. Wethepeople welcomes you to reach out for assistance as well. The biggest challenge is gathering the signatures​. But I have faith that we will make this happen.

  8. I too would be interested in helping you out. But also at the beginning of the month I submitted my initiative to the AG and it’s up for commenting and in the Analysts office. Not sure how but maybe we can collaborate or help each other out. Let me know.

    • No, because more will still need to be done and We the People is going to keep moving. For instance, as of now we do not know if 3 strikers will be included in the Early Parole Release process. By law of the voters “All non-violent offenders” as described in the initiative should be included. CDCR, California Dept of Corrections of Rehabilitation is doing there best to keep 3 X’s out of the regulations being created for prop 57 violating voters rights in my opinion. Let us say they say ok we will allow 3 strikers to be included in the Early Parole Release process….great news if this happens. But this is a chance for early parole release not a promise that it will happen a board will still need to decide.
      This still will not assure the release. I believe incarcerated individuals should have to show the courts progress and hard works. Different people will be on these boards at each prison. Some might be more understanding than others. This is still not a perfect setting but Prop 57 is all we have right now. We the People will be expanding on prop 36 the Three Striker law passed in 2012. There is always room for improvement and this is where We the People comes in to represent us voters who want real change and without the over seers like CDCR who opposed prop 57 from the start. I would like to see three strikes thrown out of law all together. We had laws in place to deal with murders and rapist long before California 3 strikes law passed. I believe CA 3 strikes has lead to mass incarceration allowing the jailer to lock anyone up for long periods of time regardless of the crime. Who’s child or spouse will be next. We should all be trying to end this law. California can not afford mass incarceration, just look at our roads and schools. We need our tax dollars to repair our cities, prevent natural disaster, and house our homeless. Tear down the cages and start reforming to prevent recidivism. May your voice heard and donate today help pay for the gathering of voter signatures to put this on the ballot. Probably won’t be until March 2018 or somewhere in that time frame until we start gathering the signatures. We have to follow the Voter Registration Guidelines.

  9. No, because this initiative offers true relief to all nonviolent 3rd strikers who qualify. Prop 57, is very narrow and limited even if they include 3rd strikers. This initiative is far more inclusive and there won’t be any controversy when it passes.

  10. A lot of the problems with rehabilitation in prisons is space to hold rehabilitation programs and CDCR’s control of the space. Will the initiative address the limitation of the state facilities and the control issues?

    • Embedded in the initiative itself is a directive specifically for reinvesting monies saved by the passage of this act towards prisoner rehabilitation programs. So there’s a strong likelihood that your concerns will be addressed by this Act.

    • Gabby, Mitch personally thanks you for your generous donation. Together we’re gonna make The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018 a reality!!

  11. Hi. My brother is doing LWOP he went in at 18 he has been in for 24 years.He has changed si much dor the good he liked even called a Model prisoner by the warend .He donatea to the pbs stiaion out his own money every mounth.We thoughte since hes been good for so long we could get a. Over. Nighte famiky vitte with him but they said no thats why this law need ro be changed back to tje way we voted it in .He has done evwry they have asked puls more.He is turly reformed.

    • He should be allowed to have family visits lwop was included that started in February. Was his crime against a minor, or he have any domestic violence history or drug offenses while incarcerated? All that can prevent family visits.

      • No none of those.When he was a minor in 1989 somthing happend he did some class over when he was 14 would that be the reason .

      • No but he was a minor he was charged with a sex crime it was only a misdemeanor he wad 12 when happened the victim was younger them him.he only had to do class that’s it .would that stop the family visits ?

    • Lacy, Good things happen. Keep praying and believing because thousand of us family members are fighting for change and this is why we are going to make this work. We are a strong force and inmates have loved ones, friends, neighbors and families who refuse to turn there back and let this injustice continue. “Let the Time Fit the Crime” Fair and equal sentencing practice should be the only verdict in the USA! We will win

    • No it did not get cancelled Gabby. As you can see it’s back up and available for downloading. Wethepeople intend on making this initiative law!

    • Ralinda during the course of moving this initiative to the ballot there may be something added in to include as many people as possible, without undermining public safety…..in reference to adding something about the court sentencing a person to multiple strikes from the same act,the courts just passed a ruling down saying they can no longer do that, and it is retro active,
      it was recently passed down, all you have to do is google the California supreme court ruling on multiple strike convictions from the same act….
      I think the case is named Vargas .

    • Key word is from one crime. Multiple strikes can be handed out still for separate offense during one trial. Google, People vs Vargas in 2014 ruling. Your loved one probably needs to file a habeas writ or try calling the public defenders office where he was charged. If he had a public defender you might be able to ask for their counsel again. It is worth a try and only requires time
      Here is an article from our friends at San Quentin that will help you to understand. Short and to the point
      Back Issues in PDF
      Home / Featured/California Supreme Court Rules Multiple Strikes on One Act Unconstitutional
      California Supreme Court Rules Multiple Strikes on One Act Unconstitutional
      September 29, 2014 by Juan Haines

      By Juan Haines

      California’s Supreme Court ruled a portion of the Three Strikes Law unconstitutional. It ruled that there are limits on awarding multiple strikes arising out of a single criminal act.

      The facts of the case are as follows:

      Darlene Vargas and Oscar Velasquez committed a home invasion robbery against Lynn Burrows and William Alves. Later that night, Vargas and Velasquez were caught prowling near another home in the same neighborhood. A witness later identified Velasquez and Vargas as the man and woman who were walking near the victims’ home. They were in possession of burglary tools and items taken from the Burrows/Alves home.

      Vargas was charged and convicted of burglary, grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft.

      At sentencing, the court ruled that a 1999 carjacking and robbery counted as two strikes against her, even though they happened during a single criminal act.

      The court on July 10 ruled that when the Three Strikes Law passed in 1994, voters understood that a person would have three chances before the harshest penalty could be imposed and that no one can receive two strikes on one act.

      The court clarified multiple strikes out of a single prior conviction. In the 1998 case People v. Benson, the court ruled that a person who commits additional violence in the course of a serious felony, e.g., shooting or pistol-whipping a victim during a robbery or assaulting a victim during a burglary, should be given multiple strikes as opposed to an individual who committed the same initial felony but did not commit additional violence.

      “But where, as here, an offender committed but a single act, we disagree she poses a greater risk to society merely because the Legislature has chosen to criminalize the act in different ways. The Legislature is free to criminalize an act in multiple ways, but that it has done so does not of itself make an offender more blameworthy, or more dangerous, within the meaning of the Three Strikes law,” the court ruled.

      The court found that since Vargas’ priors were multiple criminal convictions stemming from the same set of facts during the commission of a single act, they count as one strike.

    • Yes, it will help any person convicted of a robbery where it was not charged and proved that the robbery involved great bodily injury, or did not involve the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon.

    • I believe so. But you will have to look at his penal code number and see what is charge is classified as…non-violent serious or violent list. Hopefully his charge is classified as a non-violent offense.

  12. what makes me angry is the statues in place for violent offenders. Now I’m not talking about murders and rapest. We need to deal with the enhancements across the board for violent and non violent offenders. This created excess amount of time given to the offender and more money spent. We already know this doesn’t fix the problem

  13. My husband’s a nonviolent third striker, he was sentenced in 1997 to 27 to life for possession of a firearm will he qualify under this initiative?? Thank you

    • Indeed! The initiative has provisions to ensure that offenders merely in possession of a firearm will qualify for relief under The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018.

        • This initiative remains open for adding a pkg. that will include those convicted of offenses classified as violent. Unfortunately, current trends favor sentencing reforms for nonviolent​ offenders. At any rate, that doesn’t mean we have totally dismissed the possibility of amending the initiative to include some type of relief for those convicted of violent offenses.

    • Rosa, we made sure that mere possession of a firearm will qualify under this act. Unfortunately, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony doesn’t. So the answer to your question is YES! Your husband will qualify 🙂

  14. I’m new to all this stuff so I’m a little confused on how this works. Is this something we are going to be able to vote for in 2018. Or is this something that’s trying to be put together still as in not official? I’m lost.

    • We are working on it Gabby! Our dedicated staff will succeed in making The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018 a reality. In the meantime all donations are welcomed.

    • I said we Money is a problem and we are working to make this happen. We will fight no matter how long this takes.
      We will not give up. I am just a mom and believe in the power of hard work and group effort. I pray we find many knights in shining armor to conquer and remove all boundaries, leading us as a strong force to victory in 2018. Help us to search far and near to find all who want to join. You can do this by posting the link to We the People online where ever you can, twitter, Facebook. Ask everyone you know to post to their accounts too. Spread the work like a wild fire!

    • That’s my question as well… My Three Striker is considered a “violent” offender because his crime was robbery. Even thought there was no actual violence inflicted on anyone; he did not use a weapon of any kind, and did not physically harm anyone. It seems that the wording of this initiative indicates that this type of crime may potentially be reclassified as non violent… Please correct me if I’ve misinterpreted this. I certainly hope this act can get onto a ballot and be voted in. I have hopes….

      • Amy, your reading of the initiative is correct. Any robbery, or burglary​that did not involve the use of a weapon or resulted in physical injury to the victim will qualify for relief under this proposal.

        • Thank you, that’s what I was hoping to hear!! I’m doing all I can to spread the word on the initiative, and will continue to do so. Thanks so much for all your organization is doing!

          • Your welcome Amy! We appreciate you spreading the word. Keep in mind that financial donations are essential at this point. Thanks again Amy!!

          • I’ve made a $50 donation; wish it could be more, but I’m unemployed at the moment. ☹️ I’ve also challenged everyone I know with a three striker to do the same!!

          • We appreciate your support Amy! It’s because of people like you that the initiative will be a success. This is the most significant 3 strike reform initiative yet so I’m hoping all those people you challenged will step up.

    • Angie, at present the initiative remains the same, we hope to add something for violent offenders before the deadline for amending the petition expires.

        • Unfortunately, the three strikes law permits the state to use juvenile priors as strikes I can only suggest that someone attack that illogical practice in the courts, through the legislature, or even squeeze it into a popular juvenile voter initiative.

        • The enhancements. My husband was sentenced under the 3strikes law but has a juvenile strike which is preventing him from qualifying for SB260 because of two enhancements in which he already did his time but these are holding him back.

          • Angie, third strikers are being excluded from all the new laws passed by the state legislature. My brother is also a political prisoner as a result of enhancements stemming from convictions in which he already served time for. We hope to eventually neutralize the use of enhancements period. Public outcry tends to favor this and wethepeopleorg will do anything in it’s power to make a positive change.

  15. There is a petition to help reduce Jeremy Stewart, (my son) but the signatures have already been collected and sent off to Governor Brown. Three Striker the documentary shares Jeremy’s story educating the world to this tragedy taking place in California. Jeremy received 70 years. Proposition 57 known as The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act decreased to 58 years.
    Sorry, but 58 years is still a “Death Term Sentence for Jeremy”. Jeremy’s daughter will be 58 when he comes home unless this law changes or a miracle happen. There are still a lot of 3 strikers in the same situation as my son. Locked em up and throw away the key mentality while the jailer collects money. Help end these excessive sentences for Non-violent offenders created under California’s Three Strikes law. This documentary is an educational tool to tell the world what is happening in California. Harsh life sentences should be reserved for heinous crimes. Shame on California for building more prisons than colleges. Shame on California be allowing non violent offenders to be included in the three strikes law. Shame on California for punishing, the whole family by removing a loved one for decades from their families. Cost to lock up one inmate in prison for one year is $75,300 for a healthy inmate. This cost keeps going up every year. This is a waste of our tax dollars. $75,000 will pay for 7 students to go to college for a year. Education is the hope for out future.
    Today, I use the documentary, Three Striker to show the world why we need “We the People”. Let us stand together to end extreme sentencing practices for property theft. Please join our group, volunteer, make a donation today and share on your Facebook, twitter and emails so others will learn about this new group working to undo the mass incarceration and end recidivism through education and training.

    • Wethepeopleorg is in the process of forming coalitions with other like minded organization in our effort to get the initiative passed. Things are coming along nicely at this point 😉

  16. On page 5 in Section 4 of the Initiative, 667(e)(2)(c)(i) 11370.4 (drug possession) and 11379.8 (drug manufacturing) are still alive as an exclusion to any changes. This section of the penal code applies to exactly FIVE people incarcerated in CA, as was the case back in 2012 with Prop 36, 11370.4 affecting four people and 11379.8 affecting ONE person having now served 22 years with no violent, weapon or sexual charges, but who is a third striker. Why exclude these five? What is it about these offenders that make them continuallty left out? The single man affected has two prior serious felonies, but the third was not serious or violent. Why give ONE drug addict a life sentence and then specifically exclude him from any possibilities of relief from propositions? Now AB 1448 is on Governor Brown’s desk which will exclude 3 strikers from elderly parole consideration, thus making yet another means of excluding him. This is a case that should be looked at more closely in drafting initiatives or legislation.

    • Elizabeth, thanks for your logical observation. We agree that drug cases in general are nonviolent. Let me do some research before I give you an answer. I will say this though, 25 gallons of meth oil might fall into the unreasonable threat to public safety category. I’ll get back to you later. Thanks again for your great observation.

      • Yes, on a molecular level there were considered to be 25 gallons of meth oil, although it was waste product found in a 55 gallon drum containing used motor oil, transmission fluid and the like. It was not usable as a drug.

        • In CA, it’s the quantitiy of the drug, not the quality… 1/4 ounce of meth put in 100 gallons of water to destroy it would be 100 gallons of meth. Why change the law, as was done in this instance in Prop 36, for just one man? This could be undone in this initiative…

          • Yes, the only person convicted of this in the entire state. Again, it was meth only at a molecular level.

          • We will take a close look at that prior to the amendment deadline. Once again, fundraising is top priority right now. I certainly appreciate your insight Elizabeth.

  17. I agree that it could be done in this initiative. Indeed, I will consult with wethepeopleorg about this. In the meantime we are passionately seeking donations to get the initiative moved along. Any donations will be welcomed. I’ll get back to you soon.

  18. Yes.i’d like to know.who and what organizations is behind this initiative?.my friend is a non violent 3rd been to the board was denied 5 yrs.and hes done it all.he was convicted of conspiracy to robbery.no weapon..how will this help him.And how do i make a donation to help?

    • William, wethepeopleorg is in the process of joining CURB which represents a coalition of organizations united to fight mass incarceration and fight for a responsible budget. You can donate either directly on this website or by logging in to Go Fund Me and entering wethepeopleorg. Thanks for your support. It will help your loved one by doing away with his life sentence and setting him up for Immediate release.

    • Yes Devohn, we are currently discussing possible additions to the initiative with other organizations. Keep in mind however, that there will be fierce opposition to the initiative in it’s current state. The more we add, the more stronger the opposition will be. Many suggestions are being raised, but sometimes it’s best to eat the apple one bite at a time. We will keep our supporters posted on any new developments. Thanks for your support!

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