Prop 47: Schools Not Jails

In the November 2014 election, CAUSE and our statewide coalition California Calls took on one of California’s biggest challenges, the decades-long explosion of prison spending. 

California has been a symbol of a national trend, where harsh and discriminatory prison sentencing laws put countless Americans behind bars for minor nonviolent crimes.  Our prison population exploded, squeezing out budgets for education and health services while separating families and devastating low-income communities of color.  The United States became the prison capitol of the globe, with Americans making up one in every four human beings behind bars in the world.

But that era is beginning to end, and a major turning point was the overwhelming passage of California’s Prop 47.  CAUSE’s election phonebank team had conversations with 9,000 voters to secure their support for Prop 47, with our staff and volunteers knocking on doors and making phone calls every day to get out the vote in the lowest turnout, highest poverty neighborhoods in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

By reducing sentences on low-level nonviolent crimes like drug possession and shoplifting, Prop 47 will save hundreds of millions of dollars a year that will go towards schools, mental health and drug treatment.  CAUSE is now working with local officials to ensure we invest in re-entry programs and prevention to bring real safety to our communities.

If someone you know has served their time for a low-level nonviolent offense, but still has a felony on their record holding them back from job, housing and educational opportunities, they can get their record changed so they can move forward with their life.

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