A California judge ruled against a challenge made by 44 district attorneys against CDCR. The DAs are contesting the implementation of new CDCR credit earnings awarded to state prisoners.
Superior Court Judge Shama H. Mesiwala denied a request by the DAs for a preliminary injunction against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). It would have overturned the good conduct earning credits, reported the Sacramento Bee.
“If you have to do 66% of your time, and you have a 50-year sentence, what difference does it make? What are they challenging? I still have to do the majority of my time — which means that I’m not going home tomorrow,” said San Quentin resident Steve Brooks.
Under the new credit-earning guidelines, prisoners are now given an increase of credits (violent offenders 85% down to 66% and non-violent offenders 80% down to 50-33%) leading to a reduction in the prison population and providing many with a pathway home, said the July 7 article.
“The new credit earnings would really only benefit those who are coming into prison now,” said SQ resident Troy Dunmoore. “It doesn’t benefit those of us who have been incarcerated for over 25 years. It isn’t retroactive.”
CDCR adopted the emergency rules allowing for credit earnings during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DAs contend in their lawsuit that CDCR implemented the emergency regulations without public input.
“We became aware of CDCR releasing inmates significantly shorter than their court-ordered sentence time, sometimes after serving less than 50% of their time, when those individuals were re-arrested while our records showed they should be in prison,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
“District Attorney’s Offices across the state have also seen a disturbing trend of individuals given parole consideration long before their court-ordered sentence time,” she added.
In support of her position, Schubert cites the 2017 case of a prisoner released early who caused the death of a California Highway Patrol officer.
“The emergency rules enhance public safety and make inmates more amenable to good behavior,” argued CDCR. “(Because) they know they can win release sooner under the new system,” reported The Bee.