LAKE COUNTY, California – A group of state attorneys from across California are working together to challenge new state emergency regulations that could provide the majority of state prison inmates with credits for good behavior.
Forty-one elected district attorneys – including Lake County District Attorney Susan Krones – petitioned the California Department of Justice and Rehabilitation Secretary Kathleen Alliso to request the lifting of temporary emergency regulations that grant additional credits for good behavior to more than 76,000 state prison inmates in Fast 80 percent of the state’s prison population.
Prosecutors said in their announcement that the rules were passed subject to an emergency and were first published on Friday, April 30th at 3 p.m. The rules went into effect on Saturday May 1st.
They said the regulations would lead to the early release of some of California’s most violent criminals, including those who committed murder, rape, child abuse and arson.
In passing the new rules and filing an emergency, Allison said the rules were necessary to comply with the “Instruction in the governor’s budget sheet” presented a year ago on May 14, 2020, prosecutors said.
“Using an emergency bypassed the traditional regulatory system and the transparent deadline for public comments,” the group noted in its announcement.
“Changing these lending without public contribution is disrespectful to the victims of these most serious crimes and to the victims of crime everywhere. This also poses a serious risk to public safety. The public should be able to weigh this important proposal that will affect our community and other communities across the state of California, ”said Krones.
CDCR press secretary Dana Simas told Lake County News that the 2020-21 state budget change has been approved. In the budget public safety area, it should be noted that the changes for the current fiscal year will save an estimated $ 2.7 million in the state general fund.
Prosecutors on Thursday filed a petition on administrative law that they believe is the first step in filing for a formal court order declaring the rules unlawful.
If the emergency provisions were overturned by a court, CDCR would be forced to pass the provisions in the traditional way, which obliges the state’s administrative law office to be more transparent and allow public contributions.
Krones told Lake County News that it doesn’t know exactly how many Lake County inmates could be affected by the changes.
“They only give us very little information about who they are going to release early, and under the rules we can’t even object,” she said.
In recent months, Krones has announced that its office has released an average of five Lake County prison inmates per month from CDCR, an increase from pre-pandemic levels.
Krones said the number of prison inmates released had “definitely increased” compared to the period from January to April 2020.
“With the new regulations it will increase even more,” she said.
An explanation of the Good Conduct Credits Plan
Previously, violent criminals received 20 percent credit or one day credit every four days. That is now 33.3 percent, or one credit day per two days.
For non-violent second and third strikers, the credit would increase from 33.3 percent to 50 percent or one credit day for each day.
In a written statement to Lake County News, CDCR said the changes are not an early release program and will not result in the automatic release of an incarcerated person.
“The law allows detainees to receive credits for good behavior and participation in rehabilitation programs. Proposal 57, which was overwhelmingly adopted by voters in 2016 and approved in November, gave the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation the power to propose regulations to provide detainees with additional opportunities to obtain these good conduct credits, “said the Agency.
CDCR said it put the regulations in place to increase the rate at which detainees can receive credits for good behavior. The changes were approved in the 2020-21 state budget.
The rules have yet to be finalized, and CDCR said the regulatory process allows public contributions.
“These efforts are incentives for detainees to continue doing well and encourage them to participate in rehabilitation and education programs that can help reduce relapses to make our communities safer. The focus of our department is on rehabilitation and accountability of a person in a manner that is consistent with public safety, ”the agency said.
CDCR offered a breakdown of eligible inmates, finding that no counts were available for each district.
The agency assumes that around 63,282 violent criminals will be affected by the increase in the Good Conduct loan on May 1 from 20 to 33.3 percent.
Of those detainees, 27,430 are offenders who have not been sentenced to strike, 13,447 are second strikers, 2,814 are third strikers, and 19,591 are sentenced to indefinite or life imprisonment with the option of parole, CDCR said.
CDCR said increasing the Good Conduct credit from 33.3 to 50 percent would affect an additional 10,077 nonviolent second strikers and 2,871 nonviolent third strikers.
The CDCR’s Corrective Policy Research and Internal Oversight Division said in its weekly report that 96,495 people are in custody or under their supervision, down from 20,619 since last year.
Almost 51,000 probation officers, more than 13,000 in other jurisdictions or population groups, and a total of 6,719 probation officers are excluded from this total.