California’s Proposition 57 is one of the most significant criminal justice reforms in our state’s history. Passed by an overwhelming majority of voters in November 2016, Proposition 57 promises many benefits for Registrants and their families, as well as other incarcerated individuals. However, the benefits of Proposition 57 will not be realized unless the regulations implementing them are consistent with Proposition 57’s purpose and intent.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is the state agency responsible for drafting and implementing the regulations under Proposition 57. CDCR has issued draft regulations for review and comment by the public. They are available here: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/proposition57/ (see link at top right of the page). After the public comments are received, CDCR will issue final regulations, so our best chance to influence this process is NOW!
While helpful to Registrants in some ways, CDCR’s draft regulations harm Registrants by excluding them from one of Proposition 57’s major benefits: a new early parole process for nonviolent offenders. That is, Proposition 57 mandates that “any person convicted of a nonviolent felony offense and sentenced to state prison shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his or her primary offense.” However, CDCR’s draft regulations exclude Registrants from the definition of “nonviolent offender.” This means that, for the purposes of Proposition 57’s early parole process, anyone who has ever been convicted of any registrable offense is considered “violent,” and ineligible for relief.
ACSOL has already submitted public comments to CDCR regarding the draft regulations, but in order to have our voices heard we need EACH OF YOU to write a unique letter asking CDCR to revise the draft regulations and to fulfill the promise of Proposition 57 for Registrants and their families. Your letter should be unique (please don’t simply copy ACSOL’s letter). Here are a few suggestions:
- Begin by explaining why you are interested in Proposition 57 and the regulations (e.g., you are a Registrant or a family member, you know an incarcerated individual, or you care to see that CDCR faithfully implement the law)
- Thank CDCR for drafting regulations that allow Registrants to earn sentence reduction credits on the same terms as other inmates, for thing such as education, good behavior, and rehabilitative efforts
- Note your concern that CDCR has excluded those convicted of any registrable offense from the definition of “nonviolent offender” and this doing so is improper because many sex offenses are nonviolent, as defined by California law (Penal Code § 667.5(c))
- Note your concern that the draft regulations exclude any inmate who has ever been convicted of a registrable offense, even if the sentence they are currently serving is not for a sex offense (this means that anyone currently serving a sentence for failing to register as a sex offender, or for economic crimes, or for any other nonviolent, non-sex offense is excluded from the early parole process simply because they were convicted of a sex offense sometime in the past)
- Emphasize that CDCR cannot lawfully rewrite Proposition 57 by restricting the scope of the relief provided by California voters to all inmates in California, including Registrants
- Add anything else about the draft regulations that you wish to emphasize
Please send your letter by mail or email so that it arrives by the deadline of September 1, 2017 to:
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Regulation and Policy Management Branch
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001
Thank you for helping us make a difference for Registrants and their families in California!