Orange County Criminal Defense
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Prop 57

Overview

The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, commonly known as Prop 57, passed in November of 2016. The three main parts to the law are (1) affecting how juveniles are prosecuted, (2) affecting when adult prison inmates are eligible for parole and (3) affecting how adult prison inmates can behavior credits in prison. Different parts of Prop 57 became effective at different times. 1. Juvenile Justice. Prop 57 now requires that judges, not prosecutors, determine whether a juvenile should be charged in adult court. 2. Nonviolent Parole Eligibility. Prop 57 makes certain inmates eligible for parole earlier. Parole isn’t automatically granted earlier but the inmate can become eligible for parole earlier. The Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) will still review the inmate’s record and behavior to determine whether the inmate is suitable for parole and does not pose a threat to public safety. a. How does it work? Nonviolent offenders who have served the full term of their primary offense (often the offense with the greatest penalty) will be screened for referral to BPH at least 35 days before the end of the primary offense term. Only inmates who pass an extensive public-safety screening will receive a referral. If an inmate does not pass the public-safety screening, the inmate will be screened again one year later. All inmates will be notified of the results and those who pass the screening will then be given information about the nonviolent offender parole process, including the opportunity to submit a written statement to the Board. The Board conducts an administrative review; there are no hearings. Inmates can request a reconsideration of a Board decision within 30 days. NOTE – victims and prosecutors still have the right to be heard by BPH before parole is granted. b. Who is NOT eligible? Inmates that are: – serving death sentences – serving life sentences, with or without the possibility of parole – serving sentences on violent felonies as defined by Penal Code section 667.5(c) – required to register pursuant to Penal Code section 290 c. What constitutes a primary offense term? This is the longest term of a sentence not including enhancements, strikes or consecutive sentences. For example, let’s a person is convicted of felony second degree burglary with a gang enhancement, and is also convicted of felony vandalism. Let’s say this person received a sentence as follows: 2 years (mid-term) for the burglary plus 3 years (mid-term) for the gang enhancement plus 8 months (consecutive) for the vandalism. Their total sentence is now 5 years, 8 months. Under the prior law – … an inmate with no strikes on their record would be eligible after serving half their time, which in this case would be 1/2 of 5 years, 8 months, which would be 2 years, 10 months. … an inmate with a strike on their record would be eligible after serving 80% of their time, which in this case would be 80% of 5 years, 8 months, which would be just over 4 years, 6 months. Under the new Prop 57 – … the inmate would be eligible for parole after serving the length of their primary term offense which is 2 years. This process became effective July 1, 2017. 3. Credits. Inmates can now earn a variety of good conduct credits that will decrease their overall sentence. There are different types of credits awarded. a. Good Conduct Credits. These types of credits were available previously but Prop 57 now increases the amount of credits available. Inmates who comply with the rules, avoid violence and perform their duties are eligible for Good Conduct Credits. All inmates are eligible to earn Good Conduct Credits except those serving life or death sentences. The increase in credits can be shown in the chart below: Violent Offenders — PRIOR: Zero to 15% NOW: 20% Violent Offenders in Fire Camp — PRIOR: 15% NOW: 50% Non-violent 2nd or 3rd strikers — PRIOR: Zero to 20% NOW: 33.3% Day for day offenders — No change — Still 50% Non-violent offenders in Fire Camp: PRIOR: 33.3% to 66.6% NOW: 66.6% These credits can be revoked for bad behavior. The credits because effective May 1, 2017. b. Milestone Completion Credits. These credits are awarded to inmates who complete approved rehabilitative or educational programs. Prop 57 increases the amount of credits that can be earned in a year from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. These credits can be revoked for bad behavior and the increase became effective August 1, 2017. c. Rehabilitative Achievement Credits. These credits involve completion of rehabilitative programming such as alcohol and substance abuse prevention, anger management, anti-gang life skills, victim awareness, best parenting practices, etc. Inmates can receive up to 4 weeks credit per year for participation in up to 208 hours of eligible self-help programming. These credits can be revoked for bad behavior and became effective August 1, 2017. d. Educational Merit Credits. These credits are awarded to inmates who achieve a certain level of education while incarcerated. Credit is awarded for each level of educational achievement accomplished in prison. Because it can take years to obtain a degree, these credits can range from three to six months. These credits became effective August 1, 2017. These are the only credits that cannot be lost for disciplinary reasons. All our attorneys have either worked for the District Attorney’s Office or the Public Defender’s Office. We have the negotiating skills and trial experience necessary to get the best results for our clients. If a client is facing serious charges, we have a proven track record in getting the best deals possible to limit the amount of prison time and control any immigration consequences. For an example of our work, please see our case results and read our client testimonials. With offices in Newport Beach, Long Beach, Diamond Bar, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside and Murrieta our attorneys have criminal defense experience throughout Southern California, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County.

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