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California Prison Population Reduction Act (2008)

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The Prison Population Reduction Act (File 07-0039) was an initiated state statute that was aiming for the November 2008 general election ballot in California.

In mid-March 2008, the California Secretary of State announced that the measure had failed to qualify for the November 2008 ballot.

It would have:

  • Repealed California’s “three-strikes” sentencing statutes.
  • Reduced sentences and provide earlier parole eligibility for habitual offenders.
  • Provided for re-sentencing of offenders, except persons convicted of murder, to conform with new sentencing limits.
  • Provided persons sentenced to life with possibility of parole, including those previously sentenced, become parole eligible after seven years.
  • Required persons sentenced to life with possibility of parole be released within specified time frames.
  • Required recalculations of parole eligibility dates, resetting of parole release dates, and limits factors that may be considered in setting parole release dates.
  • Increased work-time credits.


Ann Smith.

Fiscal Impact

The following results are copied directly from the Legislative Analyst's Office website:

  • Net state operating savings of potentially a few hundred million dollars initially, increasing to the low billions of dollars annually, primarily due to reduced prison operating costs.
  • Unknown one-time state savings for capital outlay associated with prison construction that would otherwise be needed, potentially as much as several billions of dollars in the long term.
  • Increased county costs potentially in the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually for jail and court-related costs.[1]

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