One of the biggest issues facing the U.S. justice system is prison overcrowding. Thanks to the war on drugs, prisons are full across the country, and states are trying to ease that situation. California voters decided they would do something about prison overcrowding when they approved Proposition 47, which reduces felony drug convictions to misdemeanors. Jason Halpern has read that the state has released 2,700 prisoners over the last four months. But police departments across the state say there has been an increase in crime, and they blame it on Proposition 47.
The police say property crime has increased because some of the prisoners released were property crime offenders. Other crimes like shoplifting, writing bad checks, and grand theft also fell under Proposition 47 The police say some of those offenders may be recommitting those crimes.
But whether Proposition 47 is responsible for an increase in crime is still debatable. About 150 prisoners a week are being released because of the changed law. Those inmates are put on parole for a year unless a judge orders a longer parole time or dismisses parole.