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Walking the yard in Kern County, California, prison, some of these inmates may soon be free after Prop 47 was voted into law this week. (Photo: LA Times)

Despite opposition from law enforcement and victims groups, California voters approved a ballot initiative that will turn many felonies, including theft of most guns, into misdemeanors, while potentially freeing thousands of criminals.

Golden State voters approved the referendum,Proposition 47, in a 17-point margin Tuesday, and its effects are already being felt. Designed to reduce penalties for non-violent offenders such as drug possession and property crimes, it was intended to save taxpayer dollars spent in incarceration. However, now that it is approved, law enforcement and prosecutors across the state are issuing dire new directives about how crime and punishment has evolved in California.

“In most instances, many crimes that were previously ‘arrestable’ as a felony will now only be ‘citable’ as a misdemeanor. That means they may not be booked into jail but rather given a citation (similar to a traffic ticket) with a court date to appear, and released in the field,”the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release issued Wednesday.

Written by Chris Eger
Read more at Guns

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