California makes early release of violent criminals easier

By KAREN VELIE

After a temporary halt, a California judge is allowing new regulations that permit two-strike offenders to serve just one-third of their prison sentences, including inmates with serious and violent criminal histories.

In December, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shama Mesiwala granted 28 district attorneys a temporary restraining order preventing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from increasing the time-served credits two-strike offenders with serious and violent criminal histories can receive from 50 percent to 66 percent.

Judge Mesiwala has now lifted the temporary restraining order.

Last year, the CDCR adopted regulations granting additional good conduct credits to some two-strike inmates and to inmates working in fire camps.

Under the latest CDCR regulation, the new class of credits can be granted to offenders with convictions for domestic violence, human trafficking, animal cruelty and possession of weapons by individuals who have previous convictions for serious and violent felonies.

In an attempt to stop the enforcement of the rules, on Dec. 22, 28 of California’s 58 district attorneys filed for a temporary restraining order. Siding with the CDCR, Judge Mesiwala found that the prosecutors lacked standing to challenge the regulations.

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