Proposition 57: Sentencing. Parole. Juvenile Proceedings.

Proposition 57 will give “non-violent” inmates an opportunity for parole.

What does a “yes” or “no” vote mean?
“Yes” on 57 means certain non-violent offenders could get out on parole earlier, plus judges would decide if minors are tried as adults.
“No” on 57 means things will not change and they will stay the same.
Proposition 57 does not grant just any ol’ inmate a chance at parole. All of the “non-violent” felons will have to indicate rehabilitated behavior and not pose threat to themselves or their community. Proposition 57 is going to allow “non-violent” felons a chance at parole if their term for their primary offense is completed, before they serve additional time or before they have been sentenced to additional years. Also under proposition 57, the state prison system will begin to award credits to inmates for good behavior, approved rehabilitative or educational achievements. As for youths criminals, they will be guaranteed a hearing in juvenile court before being tried as an adult.
Although Proposition 57 allows “non-violent” convicted criminals a chance for parole, it is going to save our taxpayers millions of dollars, keep dangerous criminals behind bars, and focus on rehabilitation for youth and adult criminals. In the article, “Prop. 57 to Further Reduce California Prison Population” author Scott Kernan stated that, “state correctional leaders expect Prop. 57 sentencing guidelines to reduce the state’s prison population by upwards of 500 inmates between July 2017 and July 2018.”
Throughout the course of the next four years, proposition 57 is going to help decrease the state prison population by 9,500 inmates. This proposition is going to balance out the prison system, and make it a more clean and healthier environment. Although it is going to decrease the prison population, it is not to be expected to bring the numbers down is huge amounts. Proposition 57 allows nonviolent inmates to be release out on a parole in a timely manner, that will actually benefit the inmate.

Click here for a list of non violent felonies.

Rehabilitation and “good credits”

While in prison, proposition 57 is going to allow inmates to earn good behavior credits which will increase the inmates chances at an earlier release date, or parole hearing. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is giving inmates “the ability to earn additional credits for sustained good behavior and for approved rehabilitative or educational achievements.” The inmates that will be eligible are those who are not sentenced to life without parole. Those who are eligible will have the chance to earn, “Good Conduct Credit, Milestone Completion Credit, Rehabilitative Achievement Credit, and Educational Merit Credit.”
Starting off with the Good Conduct Credit, inmates will be awarded if they are able to comply with rules within the prison. As well as staying on top of their work inside the prison. Milestone Completion Credits are given for achieving in rehabilitative programs, such as academics. The Rehabilitative Achievement credits will reduce one month per year from the inmates sentence if the inmate has participated in 208 hours of eligible self help programs. The Education Merit Credit will recognize the inmates who have earned a high school diploma, GED, etc. The inmates will need 50 percent or more of their degree or diploma during their current term, inmates who achieve this will only receive three to six months. Although inmates can receive all of these credits they can be taken away as well, for disciplinary reasons or violations.

Juvenile inmates will be tried in juvenile court

Youth criminals, under the age of 18, are most likely to be tried in juvenile court. Although if committed a more severe crime there is chance they will be tried in adult court. Juvenile court is handled very differently from adult court. For instance, in a juvenile court hearing the judge will not sentence the youth to a set term in prison or jail. The judge is more likely to place the youth in rehabilitative treatment, based on the youth’s offense. Proposition 57 is going to allow the youth a guaranteed hearing in juvenile court to calculate whether or not they should be transferred and tried as an adult.
Youth criminals will only be able to be tried as an adult if the juvenile court judge believes the youth should be transferred. Therefore, if youths are accused of committing a violent crime they will no longer be tried in adult court and the youth will no longer be able to be tried in adult court based on a prosecutor’s decision. Furthermore, prosecutors will only be granted transfer hearings if the youth is accused of: murder, robbery, or sex offenses at the age of 14 or 15, and committing a felony at the age of 16 or 17.

Juveniles have the right to a juvenile hearing

In the article, “Criminal Sentences. Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute” the author states, “Relatively few youths are sent to adult court each year…less than 600 youths were sent to adult court in 2015. Less than 100 youths were sent to adult court at the discretion of a judge based on a hearing.” With fewer youths being tried and convicted in adult court, we will be left with a few fiscal effects on the state. For example our state prison and parole costs, since the youth would not be spending time in prison or supervised by the state parole. Also state court costs will be reduced because juvenile courts hearings are shorter than adult court hearings. In addition, proposition 57 will also have a few fiscal effects on countries. Countries pay for the housing of youths in state juvenile facilities, and are also responsible for supervising the youths after release. County agencies, such as district attorneys and public defenders will notice a downfall in their work because juvenile court hearings are shorter than adult court hearings.
In conclusion, proposition 57 is not going to dramatically decrease our prison population or release prisoners in massive amounts. The goal of proposition 57 is to take parole under consideration for non violent inmates who have served their basic term and are not a risk to their community. Governor Jerry Brown stated that the inmates are going to want to participate in their “good credit” programs if it will increase their chances of release. Therefore, those inmates will be rehabilitated and able to enter their society while keeping it safe. Proposition 57 should also not be looked over or ignored because a voter may feel very negatively strongly about “nonviolent” crimes.

Work Cited:

“Criminal Sentences. Parole. Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing. Initiative

Constitutional Amendment and Statute.” University of California, Hastings

College of the Law UC Hastings Scholarship Repository, 2016. Web.

News, Correctional. “Prop. 57 to Further Reduce California Prison Population.”

Correctional News. N.p., 29 Mar. 2017.

“Verilog: Frequently Asked Questions.” Proposition 57: Credit Earning for Inmates

Frequently Asked Questions (2004): n. pag. Department of Corrections and

Rehabilitation, 1 May 2017. Web.