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Thousands of inmates serving sentences in California prisons for nonviolent crimes could end up being eligible for an early release date. Our criminal defense attorneys offer the latest news on this November’s ballot measure.
New Ballot Measure
Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed ballot measure, which was introduced in early 2016, could make it possible for inmates who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes to be released early. Inmates who are eligible for early release would need to participate in prison education programs or demonstrate good behavior in order to earn credits. This initiative will be added to this November’s ballot if at least 585,407 signatures are gathered and certified by the end of June.
Opposition to the Early Release Ballot Measure
The proposed ballot measure that would result in early release for nonviolent offenders has its share of opponents. Prosecutors in California accused the ballot measure addition of being unlawful when it was combined with a different criminal justice ballot measure. However, the California Supreme Court ruled that this move was not unlawful. Some prosecutors have also expressed concern that this new ballot measure would make it difficult for them to negotiate plea bargains.
Support for the Early Release Ballot Measure
One of the main reasons behind the introduction of the early release ballot measure is the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ordered California to reduce prison overcrowding within a certain timeframe. Brown is trying to gather support for the new ballot measure by informing the public that the state might be forced to release inmates in order to deal with overcrowding. Instead of a forced release, the ballot measure would help ensure that only nonviolent offenders are allowed to leave prison early. The state has already been able to reduce prison populations to some degree with the help of Prop. 47, which makes what were once considered felony drug possession charges misdemeanors, and the use of private prisons in California and in other states.
Those who have been charged or convicted of a nonviolent crime in California should keep in mind that they might be eligible for early release if this ballot measure is added and receives a majority vote.
If you have been charged with a crime or are seeking legal help, contact the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth to speak with a criminal defense attorney today. We have offices in San Gabriel, City of Industry and Los Angeles.