SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and 40 other California district attorneys on Thursday announced a petition challenging the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's adoption of new regulations awarding more than 76,000 inmates an opportunity for early release.
The regulations, passed on April 30, make these inmates eligible for good behavior credits that shorten their sentences by one-third instead of the one-fifth that had been in place since 2017.
"There's not a productive thing they have to do other than not break the rules," said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire.
That includes nearly 20,000 inmates who are serving life sentences with the possibility of parole.
Of the 76,000 inmates now eligible, more than 63,000 were convicted of violent crimes.
"Those are rapes, those are robberies, those are kidnaps," Gire said.
More than 10,000 were convicted of a second serious but nonviolent offense under the state's "three strikes" law. Nearly 2,900 nonviolent third strikers will also be eligible, the CDCR projected.
Murderers are the only exception to this new regulation. They will not be eligible for reduced time behind bars.
"Allowing the early release of the most dangerous criminals, shortening sentences as much as 50%, impacts crime victims and creates a serious public safety risk," Schubert said. "This petition asks CDCR to repeal these regulations, begin the process anew, and allow for transparency and public input. Victims, their families, and all Californians deserve a fair and honest debate about the wisdom of such drastic regulations."
Schubert, who authored the petition and recently announced she is running for California Attorney General, along with the other district attorneys state that the CDCR bypassed traditional regulatory practices when the regulations were passed under a claim of emergency and with the CDCR secretary stating the new regulations were necessary under Gov. Gavin Newsom's budget summary last May.
Dorsey Nunn, with Prisoners for Children, commented on how not all California district attorneys back the repeal.
"I'm quite sure there are other DA's than the ones who are upset, like George Gascon in Los Angeles and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, that have major cities that they're actually enforcing laws on," Nunn said.
"Certainly I'm for releasing people. The money we could save as the State of California we could be investing, come up with a plan on how to house people, employe people. Let's return them to society in a real way," Nunn added.
The district attorneys are calling for the regulations to be nullified by a court so they can pass through more traditional methods, allowing for public input and greater transparency.
"We tell our victims that have suffered, these are the dates people will be released and without so much as a public hearing, these dates are advanced," Gire said. "There are 58 counties and 41 of us have signed on to ask the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to repeal these regulations."
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