Prop 36

Ashleyanne Krigbaum

Alton McSween found employment after his release mentoring other formerly incarcerated people through the California Reentry Institute. McSween goes by the name “Coach” -- a throwback to his days coaching high school track. That was his job back in 1992 when he got his first two convictions for burglary. In 2001, he was arrested for petty theft, and got 25 years to life under the state’s three strikes law.

Propositions 34 and 36

Oct 22, 2012

On November 6, voters will have a chance to weigh in on two proposals that could have a big impact on how criminals are treated in California. Prop 34 would eliminate the death penalty and replace it with life in prison, while Prop 36 would alter California's "3 Strikes" law to impose a life sentence only when a new felony conviction is "serious or violent."

Supporters say these propositions are step towards a more cost-effective approach towards incarceration, while opponents claim that these initiatives will cause an increase in crime rates and harm public safety for Californians. City Visions takes up the debate.

Throughout the 1990s, tough-on-crime laws were extremely popular in California. Numerous pieces of legislation lengthened prison terms for many crimes, and the War on Drugs locked up an unprecedented number of small-time criminals. However, it was California's Three Strikes law — approved by an overwhelming majority of voters in 1994 — that exemplified the tough-on-crime mindset of the decade.