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Coalition Of Republican Lawmakers & Victim Advocacy Groups Call For End to Early Release Program

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Republican assembly members are joining law enforcement representatives and crime victims at the state capitol, calling for stiffer sentences for gun and gang crimes and an end to the state's early release program.

After it was revealed that some suspects in last weekend's Sacramento shooting had violent pasts, political pressure is building to stop the early release of such offenders from prison.

"My colleagues and I stand before you today because the system is broken," said Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares.

Just a block away from one of the most violent acts in Sacramento history, a coalition of Republican lawmakers, victims' advocacy groups, and law enforcement said enough is enough.

"Sacramento continues to give criminals a free pass and victims a slap in the face," she said.

Assemblyman James Gallagher agreed.

"The policies passed out of this building have made it easier for dangerous felons to get out of prison and onto our streets, and they have reduced the penalty for crime and created a culture of lawlessness," he said.

The group is calling for an immediate end to the early release program, higher penalties for felons in possession of firearms, and to bring back enhancements in sentencing for gang-related crimes.

Yuba County District Attorney Clint Curry says it's needed to hold people accountable.

"There is no truth in sentencing anymore because CDCR is passing regulations that are letting people out early -- serving as much as only a third of their sentence," he said.

Topo Padilla is on the executive board for Crime Victims United of California.

"The last thing I want to hear about this situation is another word about gun laws and tougher gun laws. California has one of the toughest gun laws in this country. Those are not regarded by those people who are out here doing this," he said.

Attorney Jonathan Madison said: "Are we to believe it's better to blame weapons than the people using those weapons?

Referring to California's 30-percent increase in the murder rate in 2020, members of the coalition say it's time to wake up and work to enact laws that protect the community from violent offenders.

The general public will have the chance to weigh in on the early release program at a meeting sponsored by the CDCR on April 14.

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