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Faulconer Takes On Gov. Brown’s Parole Initiative

Photo caption: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks to his supporters at the U.S. Grant Ho...

Photo by Nancee Lewis

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks to his supporters at the U.S. Grant Hotel, June 7, 2016. Faulconer won his re-election campaign.

Faulconer Takes On Gov. Brown's Parole Initiative

GUEST:

Andrew Bowen, metro reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is going to lead the effort to defeat in the fall Proposition 57, a measure Gov. Jerry Brown proposed that would allow early parole for some non-violent felons.

Opponents of Gov. Jerry Brown’s November initiative that would make some felons eligible for early parole have a new weapon in their fight: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Faulconer, a Republican, announced Wednesday that he will lead the effort to defeat Proposition 57, which many in law enforcement oppose.

Brown, a Democrat, proposed the measure in January. It would would allow for the early release of prison inmates convicted of certain nonviolent crimes.

Such inmates would be given parole consideration after completing the prison term for their primary offense, or the crime that carries the longest punishment. That could lead to earlier releases for offenders sentenced for multiple crimes, according to opponents of the measure.

Proposition 57 also would require juvenile court judges, rather than prosecutors, to decide if minors accused of crimes should be tried in adult court.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, said in January she supported Brown’s efforts. She told KPBS at the time, "This initiative is intended to finish that process of getting as many people who aren't violent people out of prison.”

Opponents say the measure will lead to an increase in crime with thousands of felons who have committed crimes such as burglaries and other offenses becoming eligible for early parole.

"We're here because every family deserves to feel safe in their homes, and every person deserves to feel confident that they can walk down the street at night," Faulconer said at a news conference outside the San Diego police headquarters. "And every victim of a crime deserves to see their assailant serve time behind bars."

Supporters of Proposition 57 say the ballot measure will save money by reducing prison spending, prevent federal courts from indiscriminately releasing prisoners because of overcrowding and place an emphasis on rehabilitation, especially for juveniles.

Faulconer called prisoner rehabilitation "a goal that is worthy and worth pursuing."

"But instead of rehabilitating criminals, we believe it will re-victimize Californians who will see their attackers released from prison," the mayor said. "It directly undermines the California Bill of Rights, (which was) overwhelmingly enacted by the voters of California ... based in the concept that crime victims should be able to reasonably expect criminals to serve their full sentences."

He said the measure also could discourage victims from reporting crimes, due to fear of early release and further victimization.

Faulconer easily won re-election as mayor in June, avoiding a runoff in November. He has been mentioned as a future gubernatorial candidate, but he has said he does not intend to run for governor.

Also at Wednesday’s news conference were Marc Klaas, a victims rights advocate; Steve Wagstaffe, president of the California District Attorney Association; Greg Totten, Ventura County district attorney; and Larry Morse, Merced County district attorney.

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