Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS) announced that they are qualifying a three strikes reform measure for the November 2008 ballot.
FACTS held a press conference in front of the Criminal Courts Building Wednesday to announce an effort to collect 700,000 signatures by the end of April in order to get the measure back on the ballot. FACTS organizers announced that FACTS volunteers from throughout the state will be collecting signatures. “We have 500 or 600 volunteers statewide, but we need more,” said Geri Silva, FACTS executive director.
“There is no doubt that the public is in favor of three strikes reform,” said Silva. “Public opinion has shown us time and time again that we want reform. We would have had it in 2004, but for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lies. This is a very moderate measure and we have support, but the whole effort will be grassroots.”
“All the pieces are in place for a successful campaign,” said Donna Warren, coordinator for the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2008. “In addition to a recent poll indicating over 70 percent support for reform, the state has been ordered to reduce the number of people in its prisons. They are currently operating at over 170 percent capacity. Passage of the initiative will eventually reduce the population by up to 21,000 people. This is a win-win situation no matter how you look at it.”
Three strikes has sentenced non-violent offenders to prison for 26 years to life. In one case, Richard Morgan was sent to prison in 1996 for shoplifting a baseball glove from Big 5 Sporting Goods.
Showing their support for the reform effort were former Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg; Attorney Tom Mesereau; Javier Stauring, office of Restorative Justice of the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese; and Deputy Public Defender Al Menaster. Also attending were representatives from the Youth Justice Coalition, ACLU, Bus Rider’s Union, and Progressive Christians Uniting.