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How will grants from Prop 47 help keep former inmates off the street?




Night falls on a 'crack alley', so-called for its 24-hour drug trading, especially in cheap crack cocaine in Los Angeles, CA. Non-paying strangers are met with great suspicion by homeless gang members.
Night falls on a 'crack alley', so-called for its 24-hour drug trading, especially in cheap crack cocaine in Los Angeles, CA. Non-paying strangers are met with great suspicion by homeless gang members.

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Prop 47, the controversial 2014 ballot, was meant to reduce prison population and keep former inmates off the street.

The ballot reduced certain drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors, and provided an opportunity for offenders to renegotiate their punishments. Since its passing three years ago, there is still a debate on whether Prop 47 has caused a spike in crime rates in some neighborhood, since the promised funding has not been allocated to community and social services. This spring, California will begin the process of awarding $103 million to programs around the state. Almost 60 public agencies have submitted proposals, including cities, counties, health and human services, probation and law enforcement department. The proposals outlined counselings, case manager services, therapy, housing and employment assistance.

So far, little is known on how exactly the fund will be calculated and allocated by the executive committee, but at least 50% of the funds must go directly to community-based organizations for drug abuse and mental health. Host Larry Mantle sits down with Eunisses Hernandez, policy coordinator for Drug Policy Alliance, Kern County supervisor Leticia Perez and Frank Stolze, KPCC’s own criminal justice reporter, on how the grants could help thousands of former convict find life after prison.

Guests:

Frank Stoltze, KPCC correspondent who covers criminal justice and public safety issues

Leticia Perez, Kern County supervisor who co-chairs the committee in charge of awarding the Prop 47-related grants

Eunisses Hernandez, policy coordinator for Drug Policy Alliance, a drug law reform advocacy group