How dare they! How dare the CA Department of Corrections once again deny rights to individuals solely because they have been convicted of a sex offense.
Didn’t they learn? The department has recently lost every case in which another of their “mistakes” involving registrants was challenged. Those cases were focused upon the department’s regulations which denied the benefits of Proposition 57 to every person convicted of a non-violent sex offense.
The number of Proposition 57 lawsuits is large and includes successful challenges by ACSOL at both the trial and appellate court levels. It is important to note that the department has lost every court challenge. It is also important to note that the department has delayed justice in these cases by requesting review of the cases by the CA Supreme Court. Because the Court has no deadline, it is not known when the Court will issue its important decision regarding Proposition 57.
As we wait for the Supreme Court to render its Proposition 57 decision, there is another and even more important issue that has arisen for registrants who are currently incarcerated. That is, whether individuals convicted of a sex offense can be denied early release from prison during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking at the two issues side by side, they appear to be similar in that the department in both cases is denying a benefit to registrants. Looking at the two issues from a different perspective, they are vastly different.
Why? Because Proposition 57 provides those convicted of a non-violent offense an opportunity to be considered for early parole. Specifically, Proposition 57 does not guarantee early parole for anyone, it merely requires the department to consider it.
By comparison, the department’s recent decision to exclude anyone convicted of a sex offense from early release from prison could have deadly consequences. As the department acknowledged in its press release regarding this matter, prisoners are being released in order to “protect staff and inmates at the state’s prisons from the spread of COVID-19.”
It is widely known that California’s prisons are at high risk for COVID-19 infection due to the fact that many of them are over populated. In fact, the department itself reported on June 24 that 1,826 prisoners and 356 staff members had already been diagnosed with COVID-19 and of that total, 20 prisoners have already died.
Therefore, the department’s refusal to release from prison anyone convicted of a sex offense could be tantamount to a death sentence.
How dare they?
No individual convicted of a sex offense can or will be sentenced to death. And yet the department has assumed the role of executioner.
We are attempting to address this dangerous situation in the courts. We filed a lawsuit challenging the department’s decision on June 23 in Los Angeles Superior Court. And we filed an application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in the case two days later. A telephonic court hearing regarding the TRO is scheduled for June 30, the day before the department will begin its early prison releases.
We will report the outcome of the TRO hearing on this website the same day of the hearing. If a just decision is not made that day, ACSOL will organize a protest of that decision using every method available during the current global pandemic.
-  While it is recognized that the full name of this agency is the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the phrase “and rehabilitation” has been dropped intentionally in order to call attention to the fact that the agency fails to provide adequate resources for that purpose.
-  CA Penal Code Section 667.5(c) lists only 9 sex offenses as violent offenses. The current total number of violent offenses is 27, however, law enforcement is attempting to significantly increase that number from 27 to 51 in a ballot proposition known as the “Cooper initiative”.