REALITY CHECK

Ballot measure: Proposition 36

The measure revises California's Three Strikes sentencing law, the nation's toughest. It would reduce the sentence for a non-violent, non-serious third-strike felony from life in prison to a prison sentence that is twice the usual term -- except for people with prior rape, murder or child molestation convictions, or for certain third felonies related to drugs, sex or guns. About a third of current three-strikers would be eligible to apply to a judge for a reduced sentence.

The campaign to pass the measure is currently running a 30-second TV ad in major media markets in the state.

What's the claim?

The ad claims to be "a message from California district attorneys." It also claims Proposition 36 would "save millions," "reduce prison overcrowding" and "focus resources on violent and dangerous criminals." It ends with the coda, "That's why law enforcement leaders like us are voting yes on Proposition 36."

Is it true?

Mostly, but the ad is misleading as far as law enforcement's position. The three district attorneys in the ad -- Santa Clara County's Jeff Rosen, San Francisco's George Gascon and Los Angeles County's Steve Cooley -- are the only ones in the state to support the measure. The California District Attorneys Association opposes it. And while some law enforcement leaders like Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck have endorsed Proposition 36, most law enforcement groups are against it, including the California Police Chiefs Association and California State Sheriffs' Association.


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The other claims are true. The measure is expected to save $70 million a year and reduce prison overcrowding, according to the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst's Office.

-- Tracey Kaplan, Staff