There is a battle brewing over who will have a say on how Proposition 47 savings from the recent reduction in criminal penalties will be allocated.
The Board of State and Community Corrections determines how to allocate nearly two-thirds of projected Prop. 47 savings (estimated to be $29 million in the 2016-17 budget.)
Results from the study out of UC Irvine suggest the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014 “has had no effect on violent crimes, including homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery,” The Orange Country Register said.
The board’s executive director Kathleen Howard has told community rehabilitation service providers that they may have a conflict of interest if they seek board funding while also sitting on the board.
According to Sen. Loni Hancock, D-San Francisco, the board has demonstrated what seems to be a bias in favor of law enforcement. This opinion is shared by the nonprofit service providers, said Steven Meinrath, an advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The community already feels shut out from this process,” said Brian Goldstein, an advocate with the Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice.
Howard states that a recent legal review uncovered this potential conflict; however, she promised that the board will be balanced nonetheless.
Rather than relying upon Howard’s promise, Hancock’s budget subcommittee voted to seek a change in state law to define a conflict of interest to assure advisory board members don’t vote on grants to their own nonprofits. This narrower definition, if it becomes law, would address the concern of bias and assure nonprofits have a say in the board’s distribution of Prop. 47 savings.