The official name of Prop. 47, a ballot initiative that will be brought to voters in the November election is the "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act"; opponents say that Prop. 47 is anything but that.
Others say voters need to educate themselves as to the true pros and cons.
If the measure is passed, it will reduce a number of felony offenses to be misdemeanor crimes. This includes receiving stolen property valued at less than $950, grand theft of $950 or less, shoplifting items less than $950 and writing a bad check or forging a check for less than $950.
People who arrested for drug possession, who are carrying a quantity that's deemed as being for "personal use", would be charged with a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony.
Convicted criminals would also be able to petition the court to have their sentenced reduced and their records re-classified.
For example, if someone is currently behind bars at the Santa Rita Jail and is serving a life-sentence under the three strikes law, because they were convicted of one of these types of crimes, they may be able to petition for release.
From there, the state would take all those savings and grant them out to schools, victims services and drug, alcohol and mental health treatment programs. In theory it seems like a good idea.
Nearly every law enforcement organization in the state, including the California Police Chiefs Association, say the measure would absolutely fail in practicum.
If voters give a nod to Prop. 47 at the ballot box, possession of a small amount of date-rape drugs would no longer be a felony. If someone steals a gun that's worth less than the cutoff threshold, they too would be charged with a misdemeanor offense.
Opponents also point out that felony convictions come with different gun restrictions than misdemeanor crimes, which means convicted criminals who would have previously been banned from owning or operating a firearm may be able to purchase one legally.
They've also expressed concern that up to 10,000 currently sentenced inmates could suddenly be eligible for early release, which may have a largely negative impact on public safety.
If commercial burglary is no longer a felony crime, retailers could find themselves being increasingly targeted, they say. People who have committed identity theft to forge a check less than $950 would essentially get a slap on the wrist.
Although the measure aims to reduce the state's inmate population, law enforcement officials and prosecutors say Prop. 47 would solve one problem but would create and enormous pile of new ones.