A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has denied a TRO application filed by the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) that, if granted, would have required the CA Department of Corrections (CDCR) to release from prison individuals convicted of a sex offense based upon the same eligibility factors as those convicted of a different type of offense. The basis of the TRO application was the equal protection clause of the state constitution.
“We are deeply troubled by the court’s decision because it fails to recognize that individuals convicted of a sex offense are similarly situated to individual who have not been convicted of a sex offense,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “After all, all inmates are equally likely to be infected by COVID-19, to transmit COVID-19, and to die from COVID-19.”
According to the decision, individuals convicted of a sex offense, including those currently in custody for a different type of offense, are not similarly situated with other prisoners because their “criminal histories are different and impose different requirements upon them.” The decision notes that although ACSOL proved that CDCR’s policy to exclude all individuals convicted of a sex offense would result in “some harm” to registrants, the court noted that CDCR is “actively working on an ongoing basis to reduced inmate populations to help mitigate and manage the spread of COVID-19 among inmates and staff.”
“Due to this adverse decision and the continuing risk of harm to registrants who remain in custody, ACSOL leaders will meet next week to discuss a safe way to protest this decision,” stated Bellucci. “Our voices must be heard in order to protect members of our community that are being punished based upon a myth that registrants have a high risk of re-offense.”