A proposal to revise California's "Three Strikes" sentencing law appears headed for the November ballot.
Initiative proponents announced today that they are submitting to election officials more than 830,000 voter signatures in support of the proposal. They need 504,760 valid voter signatures to qualify for November ballot.
Under the proposal, only offenders convicted of a "third strike" felony that is violent or serious would face a minimum sentence of 25 to life in prison. The measure, which is modeled after proposed legislation, would also allow some offenders currently behind bars for a "third strike" that was a minor crime to seek a re-sentencing.
Voters rejected a similar measure, Proposition 66, in 2004.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who has endorsed the new measure, said in a statement that the initiative "saves California taxpayers money and restores the original intent of the law," which was approved by voters in 1994, "by focusing on truly dangerous criminals." A fiscal analysis estimates the measure could reduce prison costs by up to $100 million a year in the future.
The effort's signature gathering drive was fueled by six-figure contributions from Stanford University professor David Mills, a proponent of the measure, billionaire George Soros and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.