Controversy and differing opinions surround California’s Proposition 9, or Marsy’s Law, a victims rights bill on the ballot in November. The proposed legislation would add a Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights to the state Constitution, as well as mandate additional funding for prisons.
Supporters of the bill suggest that current crime victims rights and procedures are inadequate. The biggest item is the funding to insure that prisons have sufficient funding to keep criminals in prison for the entire term of their sentence. One of the current issues with how California prisons manage criminals is that prison overcapacity and overcrowding does often result in earlier release times for some prisoners.
Among the additional proposed provisions are:
- Fewer parole hearings for the most serious offenders
- Required advanced notification to victims/families when criminals are scheduled for parole hearings
Critics say that California law already consists of a statutory crime victims bill of rights, and the Constitutional amendment would be redundant and unnecessary.
In addition, the requirement to fund full prison sentences would add hundreds of millions in costs in building new prisons, as well as additional costs in managing the states prison and probation systems to California’s already massive budget deficit.