Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined law enforcement and faith leaders to announce support for the amended “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016,” an initiative to protect and enhance public safety, reduce wasteful spending on prisons, improve rehabilitation and prevent federal courts from ordering the release of prisoners.
Final amendments to the initiative, which is expected to appear on the November 2016 ballot, were filed yesterday. The initiative:
Authorizes parole consideration for nonviolent inmates who complete the full sentence for their primary offense.
Allows inmates to earn credits for good behavior, education and rehabilitative achievement.
Requires judges rather than prosecutors to decide whether juveniles as young as 14-years-old should be tried as adults.
California’s prisons are under a court-ordered population cap, the prison population is expected to grow, and there are almost 5,000 inmates housed in out-of-state prisons. Without further action, the court will order the release of prisoners. This initiative—through its nonviolent parole and earned-credit provisions—will help ensure that any release of rehabilitated inmates is consistent with public safety.
Currently, prosecutors often must decide within 48 hours whether a juvenile should be charged as an adult. The initiative will require a judge, instead of a prosecutor, to carefully review all of the circumstances and make the decision.