SLO County law enforcers take stand against early release bill

October 13, 2016
District Attorney Dan Dow

District Attorney Dan Dow

Proposition 57, California’s parole for non-violent criminals initiative, would actually put thousands of violent prisoners back on the streets well before their sentences have been served, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said at a news conference Wednesday.

Backed by the police chiefs of six SLO County cities, as well as the Cuesta College chief, County Supervisor Debbie Arnold and Atascadero Councilman Brian Sturtevant, Dow stated his case as to why California voters should reject Prop. 57, a ballot measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Supervisor Lynn Compton and San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx were also said to be opponents of the initiative.

Prop. 57 calls for giving felons convicted of non-violent crimes stronger chances of receiving parole. If passed, the initiative would give those offenders more opportunities to earn credits for good behavior, and it would make the prisoners eligible for parole once they complete just the term issued for their primary offense.

Dow and his fellow opponents of the initiative essentially argued the authors of Prop. 47 constructed the ballot measure using Orwellian language.

Under state law, only a short list of crimes are classified as violent, Dow said. The SLO County DA then went on to list numerous crimes classified as non-violent.

Dow’s list included: rape of an unconscious victim, human trafficking of minor for commercial or sexual exploitation, placing a bomb at a school or place of worship, domestic violence resulting in a traumatic injury, assault on a peace officer with a firearm, sexual abuse of a child 14 years or older and discharging a firearm on school grounds. Prisoners convicted of these charges would be eligible for early release as a result of Prop. 47 passing, Dow said.

Dow also said state prisons have already been emptied of nonviolent offenders due to prison realignment law AB 109 and Prop. 47, a 2014 initiative that reduced penalties for certain crimes

“There truly are virtually zero nonviolent offenders in state prison today. They’re either in the county jail or they’re on our streets,” Dow said.

Dow also argued Prop. 57 would make victims scared to report crimes out of fear their abuser would come out of prison early and harm them again.

Atascadero Police Chief Jerel Haley compared proponents of Prop. 57 to snake oil salesmen. Like Dow, Haley said the initiative would set loose violent offenders.

In addition to allowing for felons to more easily obtain parole, Prop. 57 would also allow judges, not prosecutors, to determine whether to try juveniles as adults. Proponents of the initiative say the measure is needed to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, and it would save tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.


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9 Comments

  1. ccmom says:

    Did we learn nothing from the effects of prop. 47? (Proposition 47, also known by its ballot title Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute, was a referendum passed by voters in the state of California on November 4, 2014. The measure was also referred to by its supporters as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. It recategorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors, rather than felonies, as they had previously been categorized. Such as:
    Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950
    Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950
    Receiving stolen property, where the value of the property does not exceed $950
    Forgery, where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950
    Fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950
    Writing a bad check, where the value of the check does not exceed $950
    Personal use of most illegal drugs

    This is why burglaries and drug offenses are on the rise! This is why our “safe neighborhoods” have been terrorized by theft and other so-called petty crimes.

    Career criminals are getting away with everything now because there are no serious consequences for their actions. Infuriating!

    (35) 41 Total Votes - 38 up - 3 down
    • billygatez says:

      I wish there could be conversation as to why there is crime in general; poverty, parenting, education, as in, lack there of.

      (-1) 13 Total Votes - 6 up - 7 down
      • ccmom says:

        I agree but also, it really is a direct result of prop. 47.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
        • miles archer says:

          Ah no…you can’t “really” back that up. Like Trump, it’s not true just because you say it is.

          These repeat offenders you speak of are not ‘violent’ offenders to begin with…how does putting more non-violent offenders on the street equal an uptick in violent offenses?

          Directly, of course.

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. SLOBIRD says:

    Congratulations to our District Attorney, local Police Departments, local Police Associations,
    Sheriff’s Department, etc. for stepping up and exposing this inept piece of legislation put on our ballot.

    Anyone taking the time to read and be informed would NOT vote for Prop 57. We are struggling with Prop47 passed in 2014 and since we have had increased crime and in this County it has doubled. With the new gun and ammo bills passed and effective Jan 1, 2017 and more proposed in this upcoming election, pretty soon we will be like Chicago and only the criminals will have the guns and ammo. Actually, the new agenda is you can keep your guns but you won’t have ammo!

    (22) 28 Total Votes - 25 up - 3 down
  3. Mariposa says:

    THANK YOU, District Attorney Dow, for yesterday’s informative press conference outside SLO County Sheriff’s Office. You, and the other law enforcement speakers, including the District Attorney from Ventura County, provided a clear understanding of why Proposition 57 is a bad idea. We don’t need more criminals loose on the streets of San Luis Obispo County or anywhere in our state!

    (25) 37 Total Votes - 31 up - 6 down
  4. diamond says:

    It’s infuriating to see Dan Dow leading the way to block an early realease bill when he is a champion of plea bargaining that skips jail completely. His record on leniency for repeat offenders is appalling and inexcusable. The political minded floaters always surface during an election year to attach foot notes on their own future resumes and claim how they fight for us, standard political smoke and mirrors. The message may be correct but it’s like watching Bill Cosby promote Woman’s rights.

    (-16) 28 Total Votes - 6 up - 22 down
  5. Russ J says:

    If California won’t build more prisons, then hacks like Jerry Brown and his legislative losers, will keep supporting these crazy initiatives that let our criminals out of jail. Anyone that votes for this (and it’s winning) is a complete ignoramus who probably voted for prop 47 and has the IQ of a brain stem. I guess when people are unconscious they don’t feel the rape; so it’s not violent?

    (15) 25 Total Votes - 20 up - 5 down
    • ironyman2000 says:

      Jerry Brown is hardly a hack and anyone who thinks he’s “soft on crime” is a down to the core partisan hack himself. That type person should think twice before calling anyone else a “complete ignoramus”.

      (-11) 21 Total Votes - 5 up - 16 down

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