March 7, 2000
Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act
This initiative would make significant changes to both the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. It would:
give prosecutors (instead of judges) the power to send many juveniles, including 14 and 15 year olds, to adult court
increase the situations in which juveniles can be tried as adults
require 16 and 17 year olds convicted in adult court to be sentenced to state prison
require that juveniles accused or convicted of certain crimes be held in local or state correctional facilities
reduce the probation options available to judges and probation officers and make it much easier for juveniles on probation to be incarcerated in secure facilities for noncriminal probation violations
-- prohibits "informal" probation for any juvenile offender committing a felony
reduce confidentiality protections for juvenile offenders
-- prohibits sealing of certain juvenile records; requires state Department of Justice to keep criminal records for all juvenile felons; allows increased disclosure of juveniles' names on arrest in specified situations
increase penalties for gang-related crimes and create a death penalty for certain gang offenses
require convicted gang members to register with local law enforcement agencies, even if the offense was a misdemeanor
increase criminal penalties for certain serious and violent offenses
extend the adult "Three Strikes" laws, adding longer sentences and life terms for new offenses.
The measure provides inadequate protections for juveniles accused of crimes, such as requirements of evidence of gang participation. The measure provides no funds to support the huge costs it imposes on state and local government.
Proposition 21 originated as a legislative package supported by former Governor Wilson and proposed by district attorneys. Critics of the proposal have noted that it was developed without the input of probation officers, judges, school authorities, youth service agencies, community groups and others that deal with the problems of children and violence. When it was rejected by the Legislature in 1998, Wilson sponsored an initiative drive to put the measure on the ballot.
In 1999, the Legislature passed SB 334, which affected a number of areas covered by Proposition 21 and which went into effect January 1, 2000. The law automatically sends juveniles 16 and older to adult court for certain serious offenses if they were previously found guilty of a felony committed at age 14 or older. SB 334 also broadens the rights of crime victims to participate in juvenile court hearings. These provisions of SB 334 would be repealed by Proposition 21.
Among the most costly provisions, according to the fiscal analysis, are those adding life terms for new "Three Strikes" offenses. The initiative provides no resources to pay for the new costs to state and counties that it mandates, such as jury trials, longer prison terms, more time-consuming probation procedure, and additional incarceration of juveniles awaiting trial or serving required sentences.
Signing ballot argument for:
Signing ballot argument against:
|Maggie Elvey, Associate Director
Crime Victims United
Grover Trask, President
Richard Tefank, President
|Lavonne McBroom, President
Calif. State Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
Raymond Wingerd, President
The rebuttal to the supporters' arguments was signed by Allen Breed, Former Director, California Youth Authority; Larry Price, Chief Probation Officer, Fresno County; and Father Gregory Boyle, Member, California State Commission on Juvenile Justice, Crime and Delinquency Prevention.
Other opponents mentioned in the official ballot arguments include Marc Klaas/KlaasKids Foundation, California Council of Churches, California Catholic Conference, Children's Defense Fund, and California Tax Reform Association.
See a flyer on this initiative.
Californians for Community Safety, 415-437-4009, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.noprop21.org.
Legislative Analyst's Office analysis at www.lao.ca.gov.
The Youth Law Center: Sue Burrell of the Center has analyzed the changes that would be made to the Penal Code (PC) and to the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) by Proposition 21 as well as those changes made to these codes by Senate Bill 334, which went into effect January 1, 2000. A hard or email copy of this over-30 page report may be obtained by calling the Youth Law Center, 415-543-3379. The analysis will also be available in the Forum, the Journal of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and on the website of the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice at www.cjcj.org.
The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) has sent their draft staff report of the Anticipated County Impact to the counties.