WeThePeopleorg.com, a new organization, plans to file the People’s Fair Sentencing & Public Safety Act of 2018, an initiative to stop the waste of billions of dollars spent keeping non-violent, rehabilitated people in prison for life.
“We’re hoping to clean up where Proposition 57 failed the will of the people,” said WeThePeople.org.com, President Tom Loversky. “It wasn’t air-tight and allowed CDCR [Califoria Department of Correction and Rehabilitation] to leave behind non-violent offenders.”
Specifically, the proposal would stop serious felonies, like burglary and criminal threats from counting as strikes.
“We’re trying to amend first-degree residential burglary that makes it a violent crime if someone is home and make it serious, aligning it with federal law,” Loversky said. “It won’t be a violent crime.”
The proposal would also remove “being armed” and “with intent to do harm” from counting as a third strike.
Retroactive relief would be triggered within 180 days by filing a petition for re-sentencing.
The People’s Fair Sentencing And Public Safety Act of 2018 includes a provision that would funnel the money saved to various programs: education and higher education, prison rehabilitation, and youth crime prevention.
It costs more to incarcerate one prisoner per year ($75,000) than it does to send a student to Harvard,” Loversky said. “We hope to save taxpayers millions by releasing non-violent and aging offenders.”
Loversky, a criminal defense lawyer, is the co-founder of WeThePeopleorg.com, along with Mitchell McDowell. He also mentioned that Lizzy Stewart, of The Three Strikes Project who helped get propositions 36 and 57 passed, is working with WeThePeopleorg.com on the People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018. [Lizzy Stewart became an activist after her son Jeremy received a 70-years to life sentence for burglary.] Victoria Garrity, who founded Advocates Delivering Love, rounds up their team.
Supporters of WeThePeopleorg.com do not want to rely on Prop 57 to include non-violent three-strikers.
The case of Michael Kirkpatrick illustrates why: He committed burglary 20 years ago. Sometime later, he attempted to collect his possessions from his ex-girlfriend’s house while she was burning his clothes. Passing the threshold of her property made it his third strike.
“All I left with was my car and my keys,” Kirkpatrick said.
Since then, Kirkpatrick has taken numerous steps while in prison to better himself. He’s earned his associate degree and completed many other self-help programs such as anger management, and a group that addresses criminal thinking.
Kirkpatrick has become a certified drug counselor and a certified offender mentor. He can help others if released.
When CDCR applied Prop 57 guidelines, it removed only one year of his sentence. He isn’t scheduled to see a parole board until 2022. WeThePeopleorg.com, if supported, could change that.
“I would be joyous,” Kirkpatrick said.
Loversky wants to make relief for non-violent third strikers mandatory so they won’t have to revisit this issue repeatedly.
The initiative draft has not yet been filed. WethePeople.org needs to raise funds for signature gathers.
To get involved, contact: www.WeThePeopleorg.com.