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Redding, CA 96001

Phone: (530) 245-6300
Fax: (530) 245-6334

Proposition 57

Last November, California voters approved Proposition 57.  This proposition provides for the early parole of state prison inmates.  In many cases, these inmates may be released substantially earlier than they would have been under the original terms of their sentence.  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has opened a period of public comment for proposed regulations surrounding the implementation of Proposition 57.  The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office encourages citizens to voice their opinions during this public comment period.  To be considered by CDCR, comments should be submitted in the following ways:

  • By mail, to CDCR, Regulation and Policy Branch, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA 94283-0001
  • By fax, to 916-324-6075
  • By e-mail, to CDCR-Prop57-Comments@cdcr.ca.gov

Oral comments may also be submitted at a public hearing on Friday, September 1 from 9 am to noon at 1416 Ninth Street in Sacramento.  The public comment period closes on September 1, 2017 at 5:00 pm.  For more information about this issue, visit news.cdcr.ca.gov/external-affairs.

Please read the letter submitted by District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett as part of the public comment process.  Letter by DA Stephanie Bridgett 

What You Need to Know About Proposition 57

Proposition 57 named “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act” was passed by the voters on November 8, 2016.  The law became effective immediately and adds Section 32 to Article I of the California Constitution. This section reads:

(a) The following provisions are hereby enacted to enhance public safety, improve rehabilitation, and avoid the release of prisoners by federal court order, notwithstanding anything in this article or any other provision of law:

(1) Parole consideration: Any person convicted of a non-violent felony offense and sentenced to state prison shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his or her primary offense.

(A) For purposes of this section only, the full term for the primary offense means the longest term of imprisonment imposed by the court for any offense, excluding the imposition of an enhancement, consecutive sentence, or alternative sentence.

(2) Credit Earning: The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shall have authority to award credits earned for good behavior and approved rehabilitative or educational achievements.

(b) The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shall adopt regulations in furtherance of these provisions, and the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shall certify that these regulations protect and enhance public safety.

 

The direct results of the law are as follows:

  • Offenders who commit multiple crimes against multiple victims will be eligible for release at the same time as offenders who only committed a single crime against a single victim.
    • For example, if a person committed three residential burglaries against three victims and originally received a 4 year, 8 month sentence, the person would be eligible for parole consideration after only 2 years, which is the term imposed for only one of the residential burglaries.
  • Repeat offenders will be eligible for release after the same period of incarceration as first time offenders.
    • For example, if a person committed an assault with a deadly weapon and had not committed any other serious crimes, and that person was sentenced to prison for 2 years, that person would be paroled after two years.  If there was a second person who committed assault with a deadly weapon and had a previous conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and because of that he or she was sentenced to 9 years state prison.  That person would be eligible for parole consideration after only 2 years.
  • Offenders whose sentence was enhanced for especially egregious conduct will be eligible for release at the same time as those who did not engage in the egregious conduct.
    • For example, a person who was previously convicted of several prior forced sex offenses would be eligible for parole as someone who did not have any significant criminal history.
  • Inmates will continue to receive credits according to the type of crime they committed, either 15%, 20%, or 50% but this law allows the Department of Corrections to award more credits over these amounts, which will allow people to get out even earlier.

 

Who is eligible?

 In the first week of July 2017, the Shasta County District Attorney began receiving notices from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation regarding inmates who are scheduled to be reviewed under the “Nonviolent Parole Review Process” set up by Proposition 57.

As part of this review process, the District Attorney’s Office will respond in writing after carefully considering the seriousness of the inmate’s crimes and his or her criminal history.  The DA’s Office will strongly oppose early release for those inmates who we believe pose a risk to the safety of our community.

The only inmates who are eligible for release are those whose current offense is for a “nonviolent felony.”  See the table below for a comparison between “violent” and “nonviolent” felonies under California law.  In addition only those inmates who have served the full term of their primary offense and have passed the behavior-based public safety screening criteria will be eligible for a hearing.  Not all eligible inmates will receive a hearing and not all those who receive a hearing will be granted release. 

Crimes not affected by Prop 57:

“Violent” felonies per P.C. 667.5(c)

Crimes affected by Prop 57

  • Murder
  • Attempt Murder
  • Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Forcible Sex Offenses
  • Mayhem
  • Rape in concert
  • Robbery
  • First burglary only where the victim was present in the home.
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Carjacking
  • Certain gang offenses
  • Any felony punishable by death or life in prison
  • Any felony where the Defendant inflicts great bodily injury
  • A felony where a gun is “used” under Penal Code section 12022.5
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Assault with force likely to cause
  • Battery with serious bodily injury
  • Rape/Sodomy/Oral copulation of an unconscious or intoxicated person
  • Corporal injury to spouse, cohabitant, parent of child. (Domestic Violence)
  • First degree burglary when no one is home
  • Inflicting corporal injury on a child.
  • Criminal threats
  • Hate crimes
  • Assault with a deadly weapon on a Peace Officer
  • Active participation in a street gang.
  • Attempted robbery/kidnapping/carjacking.
  • Stalking

 

The proposed rules also provide for several additional ways in which inmates can receive credit against their sentence by participating in educational, vocational, and other rehabilitative programs.  Depending on the programs in which the inmate participates, these credits could significantly reduce the prison sentence.

What if the Defendant was sentenced to a crime not considered violent but had sentencing enhancements?

Sentencing enhancement come in more than one type.  They can be based on a fact of the underlying case, like using a weapon, or causing great bodily injury.  They can be based on prior criminal history for committing the same or similar crime in the past.  Sentencing enhancement add to an overall sentence or they create an alternative sentence.  The wording of the law makes the Defendant eligible for parole consideration as early as the end of the primary offense not including sentencing enhancements.  The primary offense is the offense that is selected by the judge at the time of sentencing and given the longest amount of prison time on the charge itself.

Even if a Defendant was sentenced under the three strikes law or to enhancements that brought the original sentence to 25 to life or more, the Defendant could still be eligible for parole at the conclusion of their primary terms absent these enhancements. 

For example, a person who was sentenced for 25 to life after being convicted of residential burglary and admitting two prior strike conviction would be eligible for parole consideration after serving only two years of his or her sentence.

Questions?

  • If you need further assistance, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office Crime Victims Assistance Center is available to assist you. For an appointment with an advocate please call 530-225-5220.
  • If you would like to be notified when the Defendant in your case has scheduled parole hearings or is being released from prison please visit the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Request for Victim Services page.
  • If you have any other question please call our office at 530-245-6300 or send an email to shastada@co.shasta.ca.us.