California voters go big on criminal justice reform

California
Protesters in June called for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to be removed from office. Voters appeared to do just that this week, with her challenger poised to win his bid to oust her.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Protesters in June called for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to be removed from office. Voters appeared to do just that this week, with her challenger poised to win his bid to oust her.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

California voters expressed a clear appetite for criminal justice reform on election night, supporting a series of ambitious changes after a summer of mass protests sparked a painful reckoning around racial injustice and debate over the role of policing.

Results throughout the state have not been finalized. But on statewide ballot measures and in key local races, voters backed progressive candidates and policies that promised to hold police more accountable and shift taxpayer funding away from law enforcement and toward social services.

In some cases, voters leapfrogged their own elected officials in the state Legislature to enact policies that never gained traction or fell short of passage during recent legislative sessions in Sacramento — where the idea of broad, statewide policing reform has loomed large but never fully materialized.

California has been a leader on easing the tough-on-crime tactics of an earlier era, but the results of Tuesday’s balloting opens a new front for more aggressive reforms, such as calls to reduce funding to law enforcement agencies.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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