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Dan Morain: Three-Strikes Changes Appear To Be Working

Publication Date: 
April 13, 2014
The Sacramento Bee
Dan Morain

Michael Romano, director of the Three Strikes Project, discusses new data which indicates Proposition 36 is actually doing better than expected. 


Mike Ramos delivered a hard-nosed law-and-order stemwinder, exactly the sort of speech his audience had come to hear.


Appearing at a crime victims’ rally on the west side of the Capitol last week, the San Bernardino County district attorney called for an initiative to restart the death penalty and pledged to campaign for a U.S. constitutional amendment that would grant rights to crime victims and their families.




Crunching other Department of Corrections numbers, attorney Michael Romano, who was a leading proponent of Proposition 36, goes through various categories of other parolees.


Of inmates who serve 15 years or more in prison, 22.3 percent return within a year. A fourth of the parolees deemed to be low risk by prison officials are rearrested within a year. Nearly 60 percent of parolees who have prior prison sentences return to custody within a year.


“Our belief when we drafted Proposition 36 was that these people could be safely released from custody,” said Romano, who heads Stanford Law School’s three-strikes project, which took the lead drafting Proposition 36. “The truth of the matter is that the data are showing they are performing better.”