MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni said she and 40 other District Attorneys around the state are filing a petition to repeal temporary emergency regulations that could allow some prisoners to get out earlier.
The changes to the CDCR's Good Conduct Credit program passed under a claim of an emergency and were announced at the end of April. They would award additional credits to more than 76,000 inmates for "good behavior," and Pacioni said they would result in the early release of some of the most violent offenders in California.
“Allowing the early release of the most dangerous criminals, shortening their sentences by one-third to one-half, impacts crime victims and creates a serious public safety risk," Pacioni said in a statement. "This petition asks CDCR to repeal these regulations, begin the process anew and allow for transparency and public input. Victims, their families, and all Californians deserve a fair and honest debate about the wisdom of such drastic regulations."
The program is part of Proposition 57, which voters approved in 2016. Starting on May 1, the CDCR said it would increase the credit rate for some inmates based on their convictions. The CDCR said it provides an incentive for inmates to comply with rules and perform duties.
In an emergency, the changes can be adopted without comment, and in this case, the DA's Office said the CDCR Secretary said they were necessary to comply with "the direction outlined in the Governor's Budget Summary" that was released in May 2020. Pacioni says the law requires a description of why the change is required, but the Secretary did not give one.
The DA's Office claims that the CDCR bypassed the traditional regulations and public comment period by invoking an emergency. They say an emergency is required to bypass regulations and that there is none.
Not everyone, however, is opposed to the change. Milpa, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the cycle of incarceration for youth and adults, considers the change a positive one.
"We want to dismantle the prison to pipeline. This is a step forward, I think that the more we move away against mass incarceration and more into services and more into out of court placements, the better," Cesar Lara, Director of Policy and Programs for Milpa, told KION's Stephanie Aceves when the changes were first announced.