Two years ago, California voters were promised that violent sex offenders wouldn’t be released from prison early if they passed Proposition 57, the sweeping ballot initiative allowing the early release of inmates convicted of non-serious and non-violent crimes.
But this month, a Superior Court judge tentatively ruled that sex offenders must be considered for early release under Prop. 57. If the ruling is made final, more than half of the 20,000 inmates now serving time for violent sex offenses could be back on the street.
That was the hidden flaw in Prop. 57. While it promised to keep violent offenders in prison, the list of crimes considered violent under California law is remarkably short. The list doesn’t include raping an unconscious person, or pimping a child, or beating a spouse. Clearly, few voters knew this.