It didn't take long. Voters in California last month approved Proposition 36, which amends the state's draconian Three Strikes law to require that a third strike be a serious or violent felony, and last week, the first person to be released under the initiative walked out of prison.
Thousands of inmates are doing decades in prison under the state's Three Strikes law, which until it was amended last month by voters, allowed sentences of up to life for a third felony offense even if the crime was something as trivial as drug possession or stealing a pizza.
Not all inmates eligible to seek sentence reductions under Prop 36 will get them. Judges reviewing their cases are required to decide whether releasing them would present a risk to public safety. If so, they will not get a sentence reduction. But the new law should still benefit thousands of other Three Strikes prisoners, as well as preventing people who committed trivial third felonies from being sentenced under the law.