The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016: Over the last several decades, California’s prison population exploded by 500% and prison spend over $10 billion every year. Few inmates were rehabilitated and most (non-Lifers) re-offended after release, at the tune of approximately 75%. Evidence shows that - the more inmates are rehabilitated, the less likely they are to re-offend.California is reducing overcrowding in the prisons following an Order from the United States Supreme Court in 2011. Hence, the passing of Prop. 57, among other laws.
Prop. 57 actually amends the California Constitution. It adds section 32 to Article I of the California Constitution, which changes when an inmate is eligible for parole. The (partial**) text of that new constitutional section (that affect the Parole Hearing aspect) reads as follows:
Section 32 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:
Sec. 32. (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 nonviolent 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.
(a) 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.
Under Prop. 57, not everybody technically considered a non-violent offender would automatically be granted early release. Instead, Prop. 57 will allow offenders to gain credits for participating in rehabilitation programs, and then once these inmates carry out their full primary sentences, they could be considered for parole. Whether these non-violent offenders are actually granted parole is up to the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH).
Encourage your Loved ones to participate in all the rehabilitation programs available, even through Correspondence courses or writing Book Reports for self-help. The Parole Board will be looking for Self-introspection on the part of the inmate, insight into his crime, remorse [that shows they understand the impact of their crime], Institutional Behavior, among other factors.
BPH PROCESSES: It is unclear at this time if there will be a Full Parole Suitability Hearing for Prop. 57 or only a Partial Hearing, meaning a "paper review" process similar to the previous NON-VIOLENT, NON-SEX-REGISTRANT, SECOND-STRIKE (NVSS) program. As a reminder with the NVSS program, inmates were screened for eligibility at their annual unit classification committee review for NVSS qualification, as determined by CDCR case records personnel. Back then, the (2014) Three Judge Panel in the Plata/Coleman class action lawsuit had ordered (CDCR) to create and implement “a new parole determination process through which non-violent second-strikers would be eligible for parole consideration".
We believe a full Parole Hearing should be implemented by BPH for Prop. 57, but given the early publishing of this BLOG - BPH has not had a chance to implement the Prop. 57 process - STAY TUNE!
If your Loved one is provided a CDCR Letter (General Chrono CDC-128) that they qualify to receive a Full or Partial Parole Suitability Hearing under Prop. 57 contact (619-233-3688) the Law Office of Diane Letarte for preparation to either Parole Suitability Hearing (Full or Partial). On the other hand, if at some future time your Loved one is deemed "disqualified" under Prop. 57, we can be retained to provide an analysis under Prop. 57 including mailing a written Opinion Letter to your Loved One. Subsequently if there is a disagreement as to the "qualification" of Prop. 57, it can be litigated in Court, if need be.
NOTE for “Three Strikes” : It is unclear (at the writing of this Blog) whether an argument can be made that Prop. 57 applies to “Two Strikes or “Three Strikes” cases, especially if 3x cases are considered "enhancements" and not Primary sentences.
** Prop. 57 also allows a Juvenile Court Judge to decide whether or not a minor should be prosecuted as an adult - not the Prosecutor (i.e., DA). Evidence shows that minors who remain under the Juvenile Court Supervision are less likely to commit new crimes. In contrast to the old way of being sentenced as an Adult and sent to the Adult prisons at the direction of the Prosecutor (DA) vs the Judge's discretion.