California's Proposition 21

Topics: Crime, Prison, Criminal law Pages: 7 (2130 words) Published: July 10, 2008
The purpose of the following paper is to explain California’s Proposition 21. This writer will explain the pros and cons about this proposition; as well as what voters voted for when they chose “yes” for this proposition. Research will be done in order to explain what the reasoning for Proposition 21, and the changes that occurred when it enacted in the State of California. The following information will be provided as well; prosecution of juveniles in adult court, juvenile incarceration and detention, changes in juvenile probation, juvenile record confidentiality and criminal history, gang provisions, and serious and violent felony offenses. In addition, the following paper will also explain the impact under this proposition and what its estimated financial cost is. What is Proposition 21?

According to Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia, California Proposition 21, also known as “Prop 21”, was a proposition proposed and passed in 2000, which increased a variety of criminal penalties for crimes committed by youth and incorporated many youth offenders into the adult criminal justice system (http://en/ Research states that Former Governor Pete Wilson headed the campaign to qualify Prop 21 for the statewide ballot ( The governor intended to “crack down” on juvenile crime, and the initiative would create the following major provisions as summarized by Attorney general of California. Proposition 21 increased punishment for gang-related felonies; death penalty for gang-related murder; indeterminate life sentences fro home-invasion robbery, carjacking, witness intimidation and drive-by shootings; and a new crime of recruiting for gang activities; and authorities wiretapping for gang activities (http://en/

It requires adult trial fro juveniles 14 or older charged with murder or specified sex offenses. It included the elimination of informal probation for juveniles committing felonies and required registration for gang related offenses. Last but not least, the proposition also designated additional crimes, such as violent and serious felonies, thereby making offenders subject to longer sentences (http://en/ As it is known, the proposition received considerable controversy and was subject to vigorous protests by youth and human rights groups, but was eventually passed.

Pros for Proposition 21
Some of the arguments for Proposition 21 come from Former Governor Pete Wilson, California District Attorneys Association, and California Association of Sheriffs, as well as State Police Chiefs and Peace Officers. Some of the pros are that juvenile crime is a serious threat to Californians, thus making juvenile arrests for serious crimes increase 46 percent from 1984 to 1992, while murders committed were more than doubled. This initiative would create a real deterrent to crime. Currently, juvenile offenders laugh off their token punishments ( Other pros include the fact that this initiative would not hinder any of the programs that work to prevent youth from leading lives of crime. Unfortunately, some juvenile offenders cannot be reached; therefore the only way to stop them is to establish significant consequences. The recent drop in crime is evidence that the “three-strike” law is working. (

Cons for Proposition 21
The arguments against Proposition 21 go beyond those that are for it, and some of the opponents include the Youth Law Center, Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), the California League of Women Voters, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), California Public Defenders Association, Juvenile Court Judges Association of California, and Parent Teachers Association (PTA), along with many others ( A main con of...

References: California Proposition 21 (2000) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved online on 04/24/2008 from, http://en/
Champion, Dean John. “The Juvenile Justice System: Delinquency, Processing, and the Law.” Person Prentice Hall, 2007. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Final Project/Project 2 Handout. CJ 439: Juvenile Justice, Spring Quarter 2008.
No Author (2008). The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. “About Proposition 21.” Retrieved online on 04/24/2008 from,
No Author (2008). Office of the Attorney General. State of California Department of Justice. Juvenile Justice in California 2003. Retrieved online on 04/28/2008 from,
Proposition 21: March 2000 Juvenile Justice Initiative. Anticipated County Impact: January 2000. Retrieved on 05/01/2008 from, justice/prop21.pdf.
Proposition 21: Juvenile Crime- California State Government. Retrieved online on 04/24/2008 from,
Proposition 21: Juvenile Crime Initiative. Retrieved online on 04/24/2008 from,
San Diego 10 News. Mission Beach Rapists Sentenced To Life. Retrieved on 05/13/2009 from
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