In recent years, lawmakers have talked a lot about criminal justice reform. They point out that decades into the so-called war on drugs and other tough-on-crime policies, our prisons are overcrowded and millions of lives are being wasted. As parents spend long sentences in prison for nonviolent crimes, their children grow up in broken, often impoverished homes, which makes it harder for them to grow up with happy, productive lives. It's time, the reformers say, for smarter policies that are more focused on crime prevention, and that give people convicted of crimes a chance to turn their lives around.
The purchase of a home is a complicated process involving numerous agents and entities. It is also an expensive venture, and the exchange of hundreds of thousands of dollars is common. For some, these matters may lead them to commit fraud. In the real estate world, the potential for fraud occurs at every stage and with every player.
In 2014, California voters approved sweeping changes to the state's sentencing laws for certain felony crimes when they voted in favor of Proposition 47, also known as The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. Five years later, the law remains controversial, with proponents saying it has improved the lives of communities and opponents saying it has increased crime. It is beyond the scope of this blog post to say which side of that debate has a better argument, but there is no question that Proposition 47 has made a positive difference in the lives of people accused of drug crimes.