California will release at least 76,000 inmates including 63,000 violent criminals and repeat felons back onto the streets in order to create “safer prisons.”
It also includes 20,000 inmates who are serving life sentences with the possibility of parole.
“The goal is to increase incentives for the incarcerated population to practice good behavior and follow the rules while serving their time and participate in rehabilitative and educational programs, which will lead to safer prisons,” Dana Simas, a state Office of Administrative Law spokeswoman, said in a statement.
“Additionally, these changes would help to reduce the prison population by allowing incarcerated persons to earn their way home sooner,” she added.
NBC News reported:
With little notice, California on Saturday is increasing early release credits for 76,000 inmates, including violent and repeat felons, as it further trims the population of what once was the nation’s largest state correctional system.
More than 10,000 inmates convicted of a second serious but nonviolent offense under the state’s “three strikes” law will be eligible for release after serving half their sentences. That’s an increase from the current time-served credit of one-third of their sentence.
The same increased release time will apply to nearly 2,900 nonviolent third strikers, the corrections department projected.
Also as of Saturday, all minimum security inmates in work camps, including those in firefighting camps, will be eligible for the same month of earlier release for every month they spend in the camp, regardless of the severity of their crime.
The changes were approved this week by the state Office of Administrative Law, with little public notice. They were submitted and approved within a three-week span as emergency regulations.
Republican state Senator Jim Nielsen, who was previously in charge of the state parole board, blasted Governor Newsom for acting unilaterally.
“He’s doing it on his own authority, instead of the will of the people through their elected representatives or directly through their own votes,” Nielsen said. “This is what I call Newsom’s time off for bad behavior. He’s putting us all at greater risk and there seems to be no end to the degree to which he wants to do that.”
Newsom faces a recall election this year after a robust recall campaign gathered more than 2 million signatures in an effort to oust the governor.