Sacramento, CA (AP) —California increases early release credits for 76,000 prisoners, including violent and serious offenders, on Saturday to further reduce the population, once the largest state correction system in the United States. I am.
More than 63,000 prisoners convicted of violent crimes are eligible for good deed credits that reduce their sentence to one-third instead of one-fifth, which has been practiced since 2017.
This includes approximately 20,000 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment with possible parole.
More than 10,000 prisoners convicted of a second serious but non-violent offense under the state’s “three-strikes” law are eligible for release after serving half their sentence. That’s an increase from the current years of service credit for one-third of their rulings.
The correction department predicts that the same increased release time will apply to nearly 2,900 nonviolent third strikers.
Also, as of Saturday, all minimum guards in the work camp, including prisoners in the fire camp, are eligible for previous release of the same month of each month spent in the camp, regardless of the severity of the crime.
The changes were approved by the state’s administrative law this week, but there were few public notices. They were submitted and approved as emergency regulations within 3 weeks.
“The goal is to increase the incentive for imprisoned people to take good actions, spend time following the rules and participating in rehabilitation and education programs that lead to safer prisons,” said department spokesman Dana Shimas. Said in a statement.
“In addition, these changes will help reduce the prison population by allowing imprisoned people to return home sooner,” she said.
She provided emergency regulations and an estimate of the number of prisoners they would affect at the Associated Press request, but otherwise the department did not publish.
Kent Schedeger, director of legal affairs at the Criminal Justice Foundation on behalf of victims of crime, said the idea that credit was for good deeds was a misnomer.
“You don’t have to be a good person to get good time credits. People who lose good time credits due to cheating get them back, they don’t stay away,” he said. It was. “If they have more teeth, they could be a useful device for managing the population, but they aren’t. In fact, they’re just giveaways.”
In general, he argued that prisoners should not be released anymore.
The population of inmates has declined by more than 21,000 from about 117,000 in pre-pandemic state prisons for the coronavirus, but about 10,000 inmates in prisons were temporarily held in county prisons. is.
Officials announced in mid-April that they would close a second prison as a result of the declining population and fulfill the promise of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
The California Orthodontic Center in Susanville will be closed by July 2022, and authorities announced last fall that the Deuel Vocational Training Institute in Tracy, eastern San Francisco, would be closed by October this year.
However, the population has been declining for a decade, beginning when the state began detaining low-level serious offenders in county prisons rather than state prisons to ease congestion.
This trend continued in 2014 when voters eased penalties for property and drug crimes and approved most prisoners on parole two years later.
Republican Senator Jim Nielsen, who once headed the state’s parole committee, criticized Newsom, who is now acting unilaterally.
“He does it in his own authority, not through the will of the people, through elected representatives or directly through their own votes,” Nielsen said. “This is what I call a vacation for Newsom’s bad behavior. He puts us all at greater risk and seems to never end to the extent he wants to do it.”
Simas said the department was empowered through the rule-making process. Urgent regulations will come into effect on Saturday, but the department will need to submit a permanent regulation next year, which will be considered at public hearings and public comments.
Newsom is facing a call election this fall caused by people upset about dealing with a pandemic.
However, many Democrats and advocates have called for further release and short sentences. For example, unified Californians for a responsible budget said at the beginning of April that the state should close at least 10 of its 35 prisons.