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The stateâ€™s finances are in trouble, again, or, more accurately, in constant trouble. Local representative, Republican State Assemblywoman Connie Conway, has expressed her contempt for some proposals by Democratic legislators to fix the problem with another prison shift.
The stateâ€™s Controllerâ€™s Office has forecast a $3 billion budget shortfall for the Golden State by March. In the frenzy to find cash, legislators have proposed to ask voters to approve a measure that would limit the three-strikes law to only violent crimes. Currently, California is the only state to impose the three-strikes law for non-violent offenders.
Basically, the three-strikes law, as defined by the Legislative Accounting Office, means that a minimum sentence of 25 years to life is imposed on repeat three-time offenders.
Assembly Republican Leader Conway was recently quoted by The Los Angeles Times as accusing Democrats of â€ścoddling career criminals and giving them another chance to victimize innocent Californians.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s outrageous that Democrats used Californiaâ€™s budget problems as an excuse to chip away at a critical measure that has lowered crime rates significantly,â€ť she said.
A report by the LAO on the effects of the three-strikes laws claims that, while crime has gone down, the law has created a more expensive inmate.
According to the LAO, a second-striker costs the state approximately $60,000 more per year, and third-strike offenders cost taxpayers two to three times more than the average $35,000 paid annually per inmate due to medical costs for aging inmates.
â€śWe estimate that the additional operating costs resulting from the Three Strikes law is about one half billion dollars annually,â€ť the LAO states in the report.
The LAO continues by stating that the three-strikes law will continue to have significant impacts to the stateâ€™s rehabilitation system in operating cost and capital outlay.