California Voters Pass Proposition 36 to Reform “Three Strikes” Law

California Voters Pass Proposition 36 to Reform “Three Strikes” Law

Adam Gelb of The Pew Center on the States released the following statement today after Proposition 36 passed with a large majority of the vote in California. The referendum will modify elements of California's "Three Strikes" Law, which was first approved by the state's voters in 1994.

"The vote sends a powerful message to policymakers in California and across the nation that taxpayers are ready for a new direction in criminal justice.

"People want violent and career criminals off the streets, but they are tired of spending more and more to house nonviolent offenders for longer and longer sentences.  They're realizing there are more effective, less expensive ways to hold offenders accountable and protect public safety.”

“California helped start the three strikes trend, so this vote to scale it back is going to resonate across the country for years to come."

For more information on Pew's Public Safety Performance Project, please visit our website or contact Krissi Jimroglou at 202-540-6416 or

The Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP) of the Pew Center on the States helps states advance data-driven, fiscally sound reforms that examine the effectiveness of laws like “Three Strikes” to produce a better public safety return for taxpayers. PSPP conducts and publishes research that highlights critical trends in corrections and helps inform policymakers about the practices that produce the best outcome at a lower cost to taxpayers.