The Assembly just passed SB 18xxx, the latest “prison reform” bill, which is a significantly watered down version of AB 14xxx which TiPS opposed.
Here is a synopsis of what SB 18xxx will do if passed in the Senate:
- Property crime thresholds. Property crime thresholds, many of which have not changed since 1982, will be updated to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It was originally suggested that the threshold for Grand Theft be $2,500 but in response to concerns from the law enforcement community, it was changed back to existing law.
- Inmate Credit Changes. Credits create an incentive for inmates to participate in programs while in prison which in turn reduces recidivism. Specifically, this legislation (a) provides consistent day-for-day credit earning status for offenders currently eligible for earning day-for-day credit in both jail and prison; (b) authorizes the department to award enhanced credits (up to 6 weeks) for the completion of rehabilitation, education, and vocation programs in prison; (c) authorizes the department to extend existing enhanced credits for fire camp inmates (two days for one day) to inmates waiting to be transferred to a fire camp (d) provides for day for day credits for inmates serving jail terms.
PAROLE AND PROBATION
- Parole Policy. The legislation requires CDCR to use a risk-instrument on parolees. As part of the package, CDCR will increase supervision levels for the most serious and violent offenders. New proposed levels will be a supervision ratio of 45:1 instead of 70:1. As a result, parole officers will have reduced caseloads that will allow them to focus more time and energy on the supervision of higher risk, violent parolees.
- Low and moderate risk offenders with non-serious, non-violent and non-sex offenses will be placed on a less intensive supervision and will not be subject to parole revocation.
- Establishes the Parole Reentry Accountability Program. As part of the program CDCR will use a parole violation decision-making instrument to determine the most appropriate parole sanctions for a parole violator. Parole violators with a history of substance abuse or mental illness may be referred to a re-entry court. The court will work with the assistance of parole agents to determine the appropriate conditions of parole.
- Community Corrections. County probation departments would receive a portion of CDCR savings so felony probationers who would otherwise be sent to prison remain under the jurisdiction of the counties. Probation Departments will use these funds for additional officers and evidence-based programs. Seed money is provided for 2009-10 via a $45 million appropriation from federal funds.
How This Bill Differs from AB 14 (3X), as passed by the Senate
- Removes the changes to “wobblers.”
- Removes the creation of “alternative custody”.
- Removes changes to grand theft and grand theft auto, and limits all other changes to property crime to inflation since 1982.
- Removes authorization for people convicted of serious crimes from being discharged from parole after completing a 150 day residential treatment program. Only people convicted of non-serious crimes could participate.
- Removes the Public Safety Commission.
TiPS’ power is inherent in our members. Our successes are due to the support and efforts of our members, and we thank them for everything they do. Every single membership is important and essential to our ability to reach new potential members and increase the reach of our union.
I wish you well.
Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety