If there’s one thing I’ve learned from one of my mentors, Marcella Leach, Mother of Marsy Nicholas and Co-founder of Justice for Homicide Victims (JHV), it is this: keeping the scales of justice balanced is a never-ending, on-going battle because political whims run in cycles.

Many voters are probably not aware that the passage of Prop. 57 effectively overturns many of the key provisions in Marsy’s Law; aka, the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act, passed in 2008.

The bill failed to inform voters that their definition of “non-violent” criminals was expanded to include the following:

Lewd acts against a child, Rape of an unconscious person, Human trafficking involving a sex act with minors, Domestic violence involving trauma, Drive‐by shooting, Murder, Assault with a deadly weapon, Hostage taking, Attempting to explode a bomb at a hospital or school, and Hate crime causing physical injury.

Prop 57 re-classifies all of the above crimes – to a name a few – as “non-violent” and makes the perpetrators eligible for EARLY PAROLE and RELEASE into local communities. The ultimate insult was that it was done in the name of PUBLIC SAFETY. I’ll even go along with rehabilitation … but Public Safety??!

Make no mistake about it, California … and neighboring states will be Less Safe!

California, my heart is broken … you turned your backs on victims of crime in a gross, negligent and deceitful manner. I feel as though I’ve been punched in the stomach. I feel re-victimized by the very system that is supposed to protect us. Shame on you Governor Jerry Brown…. prior to being re-elected, you looked me straight in the eye and told me not to worry that you have changed and would be helping us victims and survivors.

All I can do is share my victimization and personal survival and let all victims, survivors and families know that I will never quit, give in, or give up. I will be planning strategically and start the effort to re-balance the scales of justice ASAP. We will need it now more than ever here in California.

The immediate adverse impact is hard to predict because it depends on how many inmates will be released under Prop. 57. I’ve heard guesstimates of 5,000 on the low end, and I’ve read that as many as 16,000 inmate releases could be scheduled within the first 18 months. Not all those released will return to a life of crime, but a significant number of those released will surely return to a life crime and violence. We are certainly less safe today with 57, than before.

It’s as if the Sacramento legislative elite live in an alternate universe, completely detached from the realities of everyday city life … which includes violent crime committed against its citizenry. There’s total lack of concern, empathy or any kind of human connection or emotion on their part. Prop 57 authorizes state government bureaucrats to reduce many sentences for “good behavior,” even for inmates convicted of rape, child molestation, domestic violence, human trafficking and assault against police officers.

Prop 57 also permits the worst career criminals to be treated the same as first‐time offenders, discounting strong sentences imposed by a judge. And, what’s more, just as Marsy’s Law is Prop 57 is part of the California State Constitution. So it cannot be easily changed.

What do we tell the victims that have been victimized and traumatized; don’t they matter?

They will fund rehabilitation for the criminals, but what about funding victims groups that are working in the gutters and now needing to help these victims cope, deal, heal, and find security and safety!

Or how about this: they’ve been saying California prisons are overcrowded – why not build more prisons!

I made a promise to God on April 4, 2002 and I have not, nor will I ever break that promise, as long as he continues to give me another breath of life and to help others….not easy…. but, with Faith, there is Hope. If you thought I was a squeaky wheel before, you haven’t seen anything yet! https://youtu.be/GcGHH85Nex0

Please don’t forget the victims…!!!

Patricia Wenskunas
Founder CEO
Crime Survivors