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Deadline nears to weigh-in on early release for state prisoners

Kern Valley State Prison
Posted at 4:46 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 20:43:20-04

Wednesday is the deadline for people to comment on whether state prisons should shave years off inmate sentences.

These new credits for good behavior have been in place since May of 2021 as emergency measures.

It's also been met by more than 40 district attorney's suing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR).

In December, Corrections officials announced the proposal to make the changes permanent and doing that requires public input.

Under the proposal, a person sentenced for second-degree murder or 15 years-to-life would be automatically eligible for parole after only serving 10 years.

They can also earn extra credit on top of that for being in programs, qualifying even earlier to be released.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow opposes the proposal.

“We know that just what happened in Sacramento last week, tragedy can happen when the wrong person is let out of prison early,” Dow said, referring to a shooting in Downtown Sacramento that killed six people and injured another 12.

One of the suspects arrested in connection with that deadly mass shooting was released from prison last February after serving less than half of a 10-year sentence for domestic violence and assault.

The 27-year-old suspect was granted credit for good behavior due to Proposition 57, the ballot measure passed by California voters in 2016.

The proposed regulations would permanently increase credits on violent inmates to

33 percent and 66 percent for non-violent second strikers who were previously convicted of a serious or violent felony.

“That means if you're sentenced to 10 years for domestic violence, you could get out after three years and four months,” Dow said.

Those convicted of rape of an unconscious person, human trafficking or assault with a deadly weapon could also be released after serving only a third of their sentence.

Supporters of the change, like Dora Pacheco, say it provides incentive for good behavior in custody.

Pacheco’s husband was released from the California Men's Colony under Prop 57.

“He's doing great, he's working,” Pacheco says of her husband, adding that it depends on the person, but she believes change is possible for others who also may be released early in the future.

“Depending on the support and the help and the programs, I think there's a chance,” she said.

The CDCR provided the following statement to KSBY:

California has made credit-earning opportunities accessible to incarcerated individuals for many decades, and increasing the rate of credit earning in furtherance of Proposition 57--which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2016--provides a compelling reason for individuals to engage in positive programming while serving their time. This can lead to improved behavior and instilling pro-social and vocational/educational skills to assist people in finding success, and avoiding recidivism, after incarceration.

CDCR proposed updated emergency regulations in December, and throughout the regulatory process, the department has consistently engaged with various stakeholders to ensure transparency and communication. We will review all input from the public following the end of the public comment period later this month.

Written comments about the proposed regulations can be e-mailed through Wednesday to

Comments must include the rule number, NCR 22-03, OAL Notice File No. Z2022-0215-10.

The public teleconference hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday.