Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Prop 36 passes: 3 strikes law reformed, fewer harsh sentences

The nation's harshest three strikes law has been reformed to allow for shorter sentences for some offenders.

Proposition 36 passed 68 percent to 32 percent Tuesday with 26 percent of precincts reporting. An offender's third felony conviction now must be a serious or violent crime to mandate an automatic sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Previously, any felony conviction — even for a relatively minor offense — triggered the automatic sentence for an offender with two previous felony convictions for serious or violent crimes.

Opponents argued the law needed no alteration and was meant to punish California's habitual offenders.

Supporters argue the state will save millions a year by cutting down on the number of parole hearings and shortening long prison sentences.

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