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Soros Gives Big Bucks for California Three Strikes Reform Measure

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #722)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

An initiative that seeks to reform California's three-strikes sentencing law appears to have the financial wherewithal to qualify for the November ballot after philanthropist and drug reform supporter George Soros kicked in $500,000 donation last Friday. The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 has now accumulated more than $1.2 million in contributions.

California prison overcrowding
The conventional wisdom is that a California initiative needs at least one million dollars just to get through the signature-gathering phase. Initiatives need 504,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, a daunting task that defeats all but the best funded campaigns.

The other big contributors reported are Stanford University professor David Mills, the measure's proponent, who has so far kicked in $603,000, and Washington, DC, investor Peter Ackerman, who gave $100,000.

The initiative would amend the state's Three Strikes law, approved by voters in 1994, so that only serious or violent felonies would count as a third strike punishable by 25 years to life in prison. It would also allow re-sentencing for people serving three strikes sentences if their third strike was not a serious or violent felony.

A 2004 initiative that would have reformed the three strikes law made the ballot and appeared to be on the verge of victory until a campaign against it spearheaded by Arnold Schwarzenegger turned the tide at the last minute. That initiative, known as Proposition 66, lost with 47.3% of the vote. Soros also donated to that campaign, kicking in $400,000.

This year's campaign has until May 14 to turn in signatures.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Drewbert (not verified)

He is supporting the effort to repeal, or diminish the scope, of the three strikes law.  He is not a supporter of the law, and he is not trying to increase it's enforcement.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 12:22am Permalink
Open Your Mind72 (not verified)

This is what worries me the most about and law change or initiative on a ballot in California or anywhere for that matter..the public do not read the whole story or take time to investigate it for themselves before making a judgment or knee jerk reaction.

I urge you all to look at the bigger picture and fully understand what is going on...Found this good comment on another site and this guy makes sense:


George Soros is helping non violent offenders that have never raped, murdered, or molested children become eligible for a re-sentencing that will save the state 150 million and perhaps spend more on helping victims of violent crime rather than incarcerating non violent offenders. Billionaire Henry Nicholas already gives millions to help crime victims. George Soros money is chump change by comparison. Nicholas spent 3.5 million to defeat the last effort to amend Three Strikes. Go after violent offenders, not drug users and shoplifters!       

In a nutshell the three strikes law has stuffed Californias prisons full and bankrupted the state.

A Petty Criminal gets more time in prison than a murderer or rapist? This is not justice and we can not have a 'one size fits all' approach to sentencing as everyones situation is different.

One prisoner for example at the age of 18 commits two household burglaries, one was an empty house and some collectable coins were stolen and the other was he stole his aunts purse from her home which he had a key to and took her ATM card. He stole a small amount of money (around $400 bucks) Now this was done to feed a drug habit.


Years later whilst in prison the prisoners Attorney came to visit and bought 1.4g of meth and some tobbaco and passed it to the prisoner..he got a third strike life sentence and the attorney did not get more than one year in drug rehab and was able to continue practicing as an attorney.


Now it is important to note this Prisoner HAD TO GO TO PRISON..prison has worked for him..infact it had done its job 7 or 8 years into his sentence....he has been drug free for 8 years and is a model inmate. He has no violence in his past. Sadly he still has another 16 years to which time he will age and become sick and gradually be of no use to society. As it is now he is fit and has a home and job to come out to and a strong loving family network to support him. THIS IS THE SORT OF PERSON THE NEW INITIATIVE WILL HELP TO RE-SENTENCE.


Please research this and use your own minds leading up to November..Do not be brainwashed by news channels and by reading incorrect comments such as the one I am replying to...(although this mistake by a reader was positive in that he would have voted for this initiative without realising what he/she was doing so maybe we shuld a kept quiet!)


Think about it.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 5:04am Permalink

The fact that a reoffenders of minor crimes can receive life under this law and do more time in prison than a child rapist or murderer is insane. I for one think this law should be at least revised to fit major and horrific crimes,if not fully abolished.
Sat, 02/18/2012 - 8:04pm Permalink

The fact the that people who commit minor crimes can receive a life sentence under this law is insane. This law clearly show the unjust behavior of law maker. I'm not surprised that politicians and lawmaker resonate with this law, they all have hidden agendas. But for a regular person to subscribe to this law one should first empathize with those who are in prison under this law.
Sat, 02/18/2012 - 8:13pm Permalink
tj516 (not verified)

Soros needs to kick some money in for legalization in California. It is polling at 62%, we got it this time around!!!!!!

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 10:39pm Permalink

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