Leading California Criminal Justice Reform
For three consecutive election cycles, Bearstar Strategies ran and produced media for successful criminal justice reform initiatives that defied the conventional wisdom dismissing sentencing reform as a political “third rail.”
Bearstar led Prop 36 in 2012, an important reform of the “three strikes” law, which prevailed in every county in California with nearly 70% of the popular vote. The initiative is now widely hailed as a public policy success. In 2014, SCRB ran Prop 47, a landmark reform reducing felony sentences for simple drug possession and petty theft to misdemeanors, winning overwhelming support from 59% of Californians. And, in 2016, Governor Brown’s Prop 57 passed with more than 64% of the vote to reform the parole system and give incentives for non-violent offenders to turn their lives around.
The key to success for all of these campaigns was to neutralize opposition and hit the airwaves with a message from prosecutors, victims, crime experts, and trusted elected officials that emphasized how sentencing reform makes communities safer.