Bring Back Balance: Sentencing Reforms Save Money & Improve Realignment

ACLU of California, Drug Policy Alliance, and the Ella Baker Center

It's time to reform California's sentencing laws. Californians are fed up with misguided policies that have packed our prisons & jails, drained our state budget and led to one of the highest rates of recidivism in the country.

The state wastes hundreds of millions of dollars every year imprisoning people for minor offenses like drug possession and low-level property crimes; money that is desperately needed for education, drug treatment, and social services. And there are enormous human costs as well. Felony convictions bring significant consequences, many lasting a lifetime, including barriers to employment, housing, voting, education, and public benefits.

Two simple sentencing reforms—reducing the penalties for simple drug possession and for low-level property crimes like vandalism or writing a bad check—will begin to bring balance to the system, ensure that the punishment fits the crime and help reduce state prison and county jail overcrowding.

Mass Criminalization
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