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Cop widow becomes unlikely public face for Proposition 47

Stashed in: Crime!, politics, Crime, Gun Violence

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Describes the impossible-to-predict spiritual and political journey of a woman whose cop husband was gunned down in a notorious 2005 case.

"Dan would probably say, 'Who are you and what have you done with my wife?' " Wilson, 45, said of her new outlook. "But we need to think about where this whole cycle of crime started. If we can get in front of it, maybe there won't be a person on the other end who is killing a police officer like Dan."

Wilson joins a growing chorus of tough-on-crime advocates from across the country who now agree with social justice champions on the left that the prison-only approach for nonviolent offenders is failing, and that there are more efficient uses of taxpayer dollars to make communities safer.

Last year, 35 states passed less-restrictive laws, including conservative Mississippi and Alabama. The year before, Californians voted overwhelmingly to ease the state's Three Strikes Law, then the toughest in the nation. And in a landmark decision earlier this year, the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to reduce lengthy sentences for most federal drug offenders and make thousands of current inmates eligible for resentencing under the new guidelines.

It does seem like the new guidelines will significantly reduce prison populations.