Tuesday night yielded little to smile about if you’re of Democratic persuasion as Republican candidates had their way in most of the races across the country. That said, for many states the candidates were not the only issue on the ballot.
New Jersey voters approved an amendment to that state’s constitution allowing judges to hold serious criminal offenders in jail without bail, pending trial. Public Question 1 (SCR 128) will also make it easier for criminal offenders to be released on their own recognizance if they claim to be indigent. These changes go into effect January 2017.
On the west coast, Californians voted in favor of Prop 47 which will reduce certain drug charges and theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, ostensibly to control crowding in the local county jails, a problem created by Prop. 109.
San Diego bail agent Lilly Riley said “just after midnight last night the jail began showing lower bonds for possession charges, with bail reduced from $5000 to $1000”.
Continuing to dumb down the system and rewarding bad behavior is an assault on the societal norms of public safety and accountability for one’s actions. Woe is us if these efforts metastasize nationally.