The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) filed an application today for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that, if granted, would stop the exclusion of all registrants from early prison release granted by the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The basis for the releases is to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 infections for both prisoners and staff.
“CDCR has declared that the lives of registrants are worth less than the lives of others by categorically and unjustifiably excluding registrants from its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “The categorical exclusion of registrants is arbitrary and irrational, and therefore violates the equal protection guarantee of the California Constitution, as well as CDCR’s discretionary authority under state law.”
The TRO application filed today is in addition to a lawsuit filed on June 22 in Los Angeles Superior Court that challenges CDCR’s announced plan to start releasing prisoners on July 1, provided that they were convicted of a nonviolent, non-serious, non-domestic violence offenses and have less than 180 days left to serve.
“CDCR’s exclusion of registrants from release includes individuals in prison who are currently serving a prison term for a non-sex offense but who were convicted of a sex offense in the past, even 30 years ago,” stated ACSOL President Chance Oberstein.
According to the TRO application, registrants who could be released by CDCR do not pose a greater danger to society that those convicted of another offense. In fact, the rate of re-offense for registrants on parole is less than 1 percent, according to a recent CDCR report.
A court hearing, to be held telephonically, is scheduled to be heard on June 30. If the TRO is granted, CDCR will be required to release registrants on the same terms as those not convicted of a sex offense.