Potential Changes Coming to Prop 47: Felony Threshold Going Back to $450? | Mark Ryavec

California’s Proposition 47, passed in 2014, aimed to reduce prison overcrowding by lowering penalties for certain nonviolent crimes like drug possession and petty theft. However, some argue it has exacerbated the state’s homelessness crisis by removing incentives for drug treatment.
Mark Ryavec, President of the Venice Stakeholders Association, shares concerns over Prop 47’s effects based on his experience working in drug prevention and observing the growing homeless population in Venice Beach. He cites research showing how addictive drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl are physically changing users’ brains and fueling unstable behavior on the streets.
Ryavec also references the work of journalist Sam Quinonez, who documented the fentanyl and meth crises across America. Quinonez found that states retaining the option to mandate treatment over incarceration for drug crimes saw more individuals choosing rehabilitation and rebuilding their lives.
A ballot initiative is now circulating to amend Prop 47 by giving judges the power to order treatment and reinstating stricter penalties for fentanyl possession along with other reforms. Supporters argue this “carrot and stick” approach may help address the root causes of homelessness for many struggling with addiction.
However, others maintain the criminal justice system is not the solution and more housing, healthcare and social services are needed. The impacts of Prop 47 continue to be debated as California seeks humane, effective policies to help its most vulnerable residents.
*Views expressed in this video/article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of California Insider.
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