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Town Hall Will Examine Implications of Less Punitive Approach to Low-Level Offenders

Town Hall Will Examine Implications of Less Punitive Approach to Low-Level Offenders

Changes to California's criminal justice laws will be the subject of a town hall meeting in Stockton this week. Fathers & Families of San Joaquin (FFSJ) will host a public forum tomorrow, April 9th, to educate the community at-large on recent changes to the state's criminal justice laws and to funding streams created by the passage of California's Proposition 47.

Prop 47, passed by voters in 2014, reduces penalties for six non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes by reclassifying them from felonies to misdemeanors. The measure also allows certain offenders who have been previously convicted of such crimes to apply for reduced sentences.

In addition, the measure requires any state savings resulting from Prop 47 to be used to support truancy prevention, victim services, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. By law, 65% of all redirected funds – estimated to be millions of dollars annually – will pass through the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC), 25% to the Department of Education, and 10% to victim compensation.

The passage of Prop 47 is very significant for San Joaquin County residents. Many job opportunities are closed to people with felony convictions. Reclassification to misdemeanors will give ex-offenders a better chance to find employment to support themselves and their families.

Proposition 47 will also help create more alternatives to incarceration by shifting funding to education and mental health services. These changes will lead to more people getting the support they need before they get in trouble with the law.

The town hall forum will take place tomorrow, April 9th, from 5:30 to 8 pm at FFSJ's downtown office, 338 East Market Street, in Stockton.

Representatives from the ACLU of San Joaquin, the Board of State and Community Corrections, the National Center for Youth Law, the Office of the Public Defender of San Joaquin County, and fomerly incarcerated persons will be among the presenters for this event.

FFSJ is a community-based organization that works to address the varying needs of youth, families, and the community with socially and culturally-relevant services to address social inequity, fatherless homes, poverty, employment disparities, access to public health services, community re-entry, and community violence.

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