The purpose of the following paper is to explain California’s Proposition 21. This writer will explain the pros and cons about this proposition; as well as what voters voted for when they chose “yes” for this proposition. Research will be done in order to explain what the reasoning for Proposition 21, and the changes that occurred when it enacted in the State of California.
The following information will be provided as well; prosecution of juveniles in adult court, juvenile incarceration and detention, changes in juvenile probation, juvenile record confidentiality and criminal history, gang provisions, and serious and violent felony offenses. In addition, the following paper will also explain the impact under this proposition and what its estimated financial cost is. What is Proposition 21?
California’s Proposition Essay Example
According to Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia, California Proposition 21, also known as “Prop 21”, was a proposition proposed and passed in 2000, which increased a variety of criminal penalties for crimes committed by youth and incorporated many youth offenders into the adult criminal justice system (http://en/wikipedia. org/wiki/Proposition_21). Research states that Former Governor Pete Wilson headed the campaign to qualify Prop 21 for the statewide ballot (http://www. 4children. org/news/100pr21. htm).
The governor intended to “crack down” on juvenile crime, and the initiative would create the following major provisions as summarized by Attorney general of California. Proposition 21 increased punishment for gang-related felonies; death penalty for gang-related murder; indeterminate life sentences fro home-invasion robbery, carjacking, witness intimidation and drive-by shootings; and a new crime of recruiting for gang activities; and authorities wiretapping for gang activities (http://en/wikipedia. org/wiki/Proposition_21).
It requires adult trial fro juveniles 14 or older charged with murder or specified sex offenses. It included the elimination of informal probation for juveniles committing felonies and required registration for gang related offenses. Last but not least, the proposition also designated additional crimes, such as violent and serious felonies, thereby making offenders subject to longer sentences (http://en/wikipedia. org/wiki/Proposition_21). As it is known, the proposition received considerable controversy and was subject to vigorous protests by youth and human rights groups, but was eventually passed.
Pros for Proposition 21 Some of the arguments for Proposition 21 come from Former Governor Pete Wilson, California District Attorneys Association, and California Association of Sheriffs, as well as State Police Chiefs and Peace Officers. Some of the pros are that juvenile crime is a serious threat to Californians, thus making juvenile arrests for serious crimes increase 46 percent from 1984 to 1992, while murders committed were more than doubled. This initiative would create a real deterrent to crime.
In recent studies from New York and Florida, youths tried in adult courts had a greater chance of falling back into criminal behavior than comparable youths tried fro the same thing in juvenile court. Florida, which allows prosecutors to move juvenile trials to adult court, has the second highest rate of violent juvenile crime in the U. S. (http://www. 4children. org/news/100pr21. htm). Other cons are that this initiative will put hundreds of millions of dollars into trials and prisons, money that could otherwise be used for education and prevention programs.
This initiative assumes that youth are capable of understanding their actions and incapable of rehabilitation. Opponents also say that the job of prosecutors is to convict a youth. It is a conflict of interest for them to decide where the youth should be tried. Judges should continue to decide (http://www. 4children. org/news/100pr21. htm). Lastly, by expanding the “three-strike” law, this initiative would put more people in prisons for longer, even though California prisons are already operating at more than 200 percent capacity.
Overcrowding leads to early release of many offenders. A “Yes” vote for this measure meant that various changes have been made to the juvenile and adult criminal law. Among the more significant changes is the requirement that more juvenile offenders are to be tried in adult court; it requires that certain juvenile offenders be held in local or state correctional facilities; increases penalties for gang-related crimes; and expands the list of violent and serious offenses for which longer prison sentences are given (http://www. smartvoter. rg/2000/03/07/ca/state/prop/21/).
Prosecution of Juveniles in Adult Court Under Proposition 21, this change basically requires more juvenile offenders to be tried in adult court (Project 2 Handout). By having more juvenile offenders tried in adult courts, means that more juvenile offenders are going to prisons instead of Juvenile Hall. Prosecutors had the power to move a juvenile to adult court for serious crimes. Now judges make this decision. This change requires adult trials for juveniles 14 years or older charged with murder or specific sex offenses.
It also makes it easier to send juveniles back to prison for probation violations, and prohibits minors charged in crimes involving firearms to be released to their parents before a trial (http://www. 4children. org/news/100pr21. htm). Juvenile Incarceration and Detention This is now a requirement that certain juvenile offenders are to be held in local or state correctional facilities (Project 2 Handout). Basically, juveniles can now be sent to prison once they are sentenced. Juveniles no longer get committed because they are tried as adults.
In addition, since Prop 21 passed, juveniles are now held in jail instead of Juvenile Hall when they are going through the court proceedings. There are some exceptions to this though, if the juvenile committed the offense when they were 17 years old, most likely he or she will get housed in Juvenile Hall until the judge decided they are suitable for an age appropriate facility, such as jail. Another option is for the juvenile to stay in Juvenile Hall until he or she turns 20 years old, depending on the proceedings and the case (http://www. cjcj. rg/jjic/prop_21. php).
Changes in Juvenile Probation Proposition 21 changes the type of probation available for juvenile offenders. For example, the initiative proposes to greatly restrict informal probation to only those “unusual cases where the court determines the interests of justice would best be served,” specifying that absent such a determination all juvenile felons are ineligible (http://www. csac. counties. org/legislation/juvenile_justice/prop21. pdf). Informal probation generally lasts six months, the maximum period allowed under existing law.
In place of informal probation, a Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) scheme is proposed for specified minors aged 14 years and older who are charged with a felony and who have no previous felonies. Participation in the DEJ program is conditioned upon the juvenile admitting all allegations and undertaking a program of supervision lasting between 12 and 36 months.