Three Strikes Reform: Proposition 47 and the fight against inequality

Legal Scalessource: City Watch LA
published: 28 October 2014

When New York rapper Jay-Z played the Rose Bowl last summer, he surprised 90,000 concertgoers by making a political statement. Before launching into his hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” he urged fans to vote for a California ballot initiative that would dramatically reduce the state’s prison population and re-direct money into education and treatment programs.

“Prop 47, California! Build more schools, less prisons!” he exhorted.

A few weeks later, two other public figures delivered a similar rap, albeit in a different forum. In a Los Angeles Times op-edpiece, Newt Gingrich, the Republican politician, and B. Wayne Hughes Jr., a conservative Christian businessman, similarly urged Californians to end bloated spending on prisons and reverse tough-on-crime policies that they say have failed to significantly improve public safety.

Among other things, Gingrich and Hughes pointed out that California now spends $62,396 per prisoner each year, and $9,200 per K-12 student.

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