SACRAMENTO – On October 11,2017 Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation to improve California’s criminal and juvenile justice systems, restore the power of judges to impose criminal sentences and reduce recidivism through increased rehabilitation.
The Governor signed the bills enumerated below (among others) but of immediate importance to the current Youth Offender (ISL/DSL) Lifer or Determinate inmate population are:
• AB 1308 (Stone) expands the Youth Offender parole process for persons
sentenced to lengthy prison terms for crimes committed before age 23 to
include those 25 or younger. BOTTOM LINE:
Both Inderterminate (ISL) and Determinate (DSL) inmates that committed their crime at the age of 25 years old (the day of the crime Not the sentencing day) or under will be eligible for a Youth Offender Hearing on or before January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2022, respectively. Furthermore those youth offender inmates will receive a CONSULTATION by meeting with a Commissioner on or before January 1, 2019.
NOTE: CONSULTATION HEARINGs are not hearings and no attorneys are allowed at the Consultation. It is only a Consultation with a Commissioner to give a brief orientation to the inmate (Youth offender) on what s/he needs to work on before his/her actual Youth Offender Parole Suitability Hearing.
• AB 1448 (Weber) allows the Board of Parole hearings to consider the
possibility of granting parole to an elderly prisoner who has served at
least 25 years in prison. This bill will codify the 3-Judge Panel guidelines to give special considerations to the Elderly inmates. BOTTOM LINE: if the inmate is 60 years old and has been incarcerated at least 25 years, he will qualify for an Elderly Parole Hearing. The Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) will normally look at health factors, cognitive functioning, as well as mobility issues during the Elderly Parole Suitability Hearing. This is NOT to be confused with the Expanded Medical Parole (EMP) hearings nor the Compassionate Release. If you need more information on the difference on this terminology consult an attorney, familiar with this area of the law.
• SB 394 (Lara) ensures compliance with U.S. Supreme Court decisions by
allowing children sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP inmates) to
be eligible for a parole hearing after 25 years of incarceration. BOTTOM LINE: they will not need to file a Petition in Court to lift the LWOP top; unlike the old SB9 and Miller V. Alabama Petition that needed to be filed in Court to be re-sentenced the inmate as a Lifer with Possibility of Parole.
It is expected that these Laws will become effective as of January 1, 2018. It will surely increase the work load of all the 15 Governor appointed Commissioners working at the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) - be patient the NOTICES will surely be provided to the inmates in the near future if they qualify as a youth offender - BE PATIENT but BE PREPARED. If you feel BPH made an error in finding your loved one NOT eligible you may want to hire an attorney that is familiar with these new laws and the Parole Hearing area.
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