How Proposition 57 Impacts California’s Prison Inmate Population
Prop 57: Early Parole for Non-Violent Criminals
On November 8, 2016, California voters voted to approve proposition 57, also known as California's Early Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative. Proposition 57, or simply Prop 57, was added as a new part of the California Constitution found at Article 1, Section 32.
Prop 57 law is intended to reduce the population of California’s over-crowded prisons in two ways: 1) by granting non-violent prison inmates the opportunity to petition the California Parole Board for release on parole at an earlier date than previously entitled, and 2) by granting additional opportunities for inmates to earn good-conduct credits while in prison; good conduct credits are used to reduce the inmate’s sentence.
In this way, Prop 57 has dramatically changed California adult sentencing law as well as juvenile court procedures. Consider the following:
1) Per Prop 57, California prisoners convicted of non-violent felonies may apply for early release on parole after the prisoner completes the full term of any primary offense for which the prisoner was convicted.
The full term of any primary offense means the longest term of imprisonment imposed by the court for any offense, excluding the imposition of an enhancement, consecutive sentence, or alternative sentence.
Pre-existing good time credits for prison sentences on the primary offense continue to apply.
2) Prop 57 allows inmates the ability to earn more good conduct credits while in prison. The more good conduct credits the prisoner earns while in prison the earlier the prisoner may be released on parole.
Good conduct credits fall into three major categories: good behavior, educational, or rehabilitative. Good conduct credits may be used for earlier release to parole on all crimes (including violent crime), not just non-violent crimes.
3) Prop 57 allows judges, not prosecutors, to determine whether or not a minor is considered a juvenile for purposes of prosecution. The issue of whether a minor qualifies as a juvenile is determined at a transfer hearing.
Per Prop 57, to be granted early parole, all inmates, current and future, must demonstrate that they are rehabilitated and do not pose a danger to the public.
Prop 57 Procedures:
The California Board of Parole Hearings determines who is rehabilitated and therefore eligible for early release. Any prisoner approved for release will be subject to mandatory supervision by law enforcement. An inmate's petition for early release can, but not necessarily lead to the following:
- The Department of Corrections can choose to have convicted felons only serve a sentence for one of their offenses (the primary offense with time off for any good time credits).
- Extra enhancements can be disregarded, and a person can be released early if the California Department of Corrections feels that they should be released early.
Neither Prop 57, nor California law, defines non-violent felonies; however, violent felonies are listed in California Penal Code section 667.5. Violent felonies are also listed at the end of this page.
Violent Felonies: The below list is a list of California crimes that are considered violent. These violent crimes do not qualify for early release on parole under Prop 57; however, these crimes may qualify for increased good time credits under prop 57. The list of non-violent crimes that are affected by Prop 57 is too numerous to list; therefore, if your crime is not listed below, you may be eligible for early release on parole under Prop 57.
Murder PC 187(a)
Voluntary Manslaughter PC 192(a)
Mayhem PC 203
Aggravated Mayhem PC 205
Rape of Mentally or Physically Disabled Person PC 261(a)(1)
Rape of Unconscious Person PC 261(a)(4)
Spousal Rape by Force or Fear PC 262(a)(1)
Spousal Rape W/Threat of Retaliation PC 262(a)(4)
Sodomy of Minor by Force or Fear PC 286(c)
Sodomy in Concert by Force or Fear PC 286(d)
Oral Copulation on Minor Under 14 PC 288a(c)
Oral Copulation in Concert by Force or Fear PC 288a(d)
Lewd or Lascivious Acts on Minor Under 14 PC 288(a)
Lewd or Lascivious Acts on Minor by Force or Fear PC 288(b)
Any Felony Punishable by Life Imprisonment or Death PC 667.5(c)(7)
A Felony where the person Caused GBI or Used Firearm PC 667.5(c)(8)
Robbery in Second Degree PC 211
Robbery in First Degree PC 212.5
Robbery of Train PC 214
Arson with Injury PC 451(a)
Arson to Inhabited Structure PC 451(b)
Sexual Penetration by Foreign Object by Force or Fear PC 289(a)(1)(A)
Sexual Penetration by Foreign Object on Minor Under 14 PC 289(j)
Attempted Murder PC 664/187(a)
Exploding Destructive Device Causing Death PC 18755(a)
Exploding Destructive Device with Intent to Murder PC 18745
Exploding Destructive Device Causing Injury PC 18750
Kidnapping PC 207, 208, or 209
Assault with Intent to Commit A Felony Sex Crime PC 220
Continuous Sexual Abuse of A Child PC 288.5
Carjacking PC 215
Rape in Concert or Sexual Penetration in concert PC 264.1
Gang Related Extortion PC 518, 186.22 & 667.5(c)(19)
Threats to Victims or Witnesses Related to Gang Crimes PC 136.1, 186.22 & 667.5(c)(20)
First Degree Burglary of Occupied House PC 460
Use of Firearm during the Commission of A Violent Felony PC 12022.53
Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction PC 11418(b) & 11418(c)
Non-Violent Felonies: The following is a list of common felonies that are considered to be non-violent in California (Partial list).
Battery PC 242
Loiter with Intent to Commit Prostitution PC 653.22(a)
Keeping a House of Prostitution PC 315
Acquire Access Cards PC 484e
Annoying or Harassing Phone Calls PC 653m
Possession of Controlled Substance HS 11350(a)
Possession of Controlled Substance for Sale HS 11351
Possession of False Compartment for Controlled Substance HS 11366.8(a)
Unauthorized Use of Automobile VC 10851(a)
Animal Cruelty PC 597(a)
Vandalism PC 594 Crimes
Elder Theft PC 368 Crimes
Child Endangerment PC 273a(a)
Criminal Threats PC 422
Contempt of Court PC 166(a)
Brandishing PC 417
Simple Assault PC 240
Hit and Run VC 20002(a)
Obstruction PC 148(a)(1)
False Report of Crime PC 148.5
Perjury 118 Crimes
Welfare Fraud WI 10980
Receipt of Stolen Property PC 496(a)
Stalking PC 646.9 Crimes