PROPOSITIONS 5 & 6

By DAVID MARSH

In an election that was quite clearly overshadowed by the uncertain economic times, Americans went to the polls and voted their pocket-books in sending Propositions 5 and 6 down to decisive defeat.

Prop. 5, known as the Non-Violent Offenders Act, would have diverted drug and non-violent offenders into rehabilitation and diversion programs, making it much more difficult to incarcerate them. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the initiative could have eventually cost the state over $1 billion a year, off set by an additional $1 billion a year in savings from reduced parole and prison costs.

Voters who participated in exit polls cited the certainty of the projected expenditures in deciding to reject the initiative.

Prop. 6, A Police and Law Enforcement Funding initiative, would have mandated an initial outlay of $965,000,000 per year to fund police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation and jails, an increase of several hundred million per year over current levels of spending. It proposed numerous changes in current laws related to membership in gangs, as well as sentencing changes. The measure was soundly defeated by voters.

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