Nearly all California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prisoners may be eligible to have a court reconsider and reduce their sentence, according to new rules.
The prisoners’ rulebook outlines the procedure in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, section number 3076, Recall of Commitment Recommendation Circumstances.
California Penal Code Section 1170(d)(1) allows the Agency Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) or its designee to recommend, at any time, that the sentencing court recall an inmate’s sentence and commitment previously imposed and resentence an inmate, as long as the new sentence is no greater than the initial sentence.
“CDCR is still in the process of developing an official process regarding 1170(d) recall and resentencing referrals,” said Krissi Khokhobashvili, Deputy Chief, Office of External Affairs.
Qualifying inmates must demonstrate “Exceptional Conduct,” a “Sentencing Discrepancy, or that they benefit from “Retroactive Changes in Law.”
For an inmate to be considered for Exceptional Conduct, any institution staff may provide an inmate’s name and prison number to the institution’s warden. If the warden agrees, he then sends the consideration to the Classification Services Unit (CSU). Law enforcement agencies or other outside entities, such as a district attorney’s office may also make referrals. Departmental staff does not take recommendations from private citizens, attorneys or family members. In those instances, the requesting party should send the request to the sentencing court.
Exceptional behavior is shown through an inmate’s rehabilitative efforts that also demonstrate that they would be an asset to their community.
Evidence that demonstrates exceptional behavior will be reviewed by CSU. The evidence includes but is not limited to:
• Evidence of participation in self-help groups, vocational, and educational programs.
• Positive programming, including no serious rules violations or security housing terms in the past five years.
• Evidence of laudatory chronos and letters of support.
• Recommendations from staff and volunteers.
“Exceptional conduct is only a small fraction of the referrals,” Khokhobashvili said. “Most of the referrals are for sentence corrections—as an example, take the change in gun enhancements; we can take a look at the sentence that was imposed before the law took effect and consider if that person was sentenced today, whether the enhancement would have been given.”
For inmates to be considered for a Sentencing Discrepancy, the claim must be based on statutory or case law authority. Sentencing discrepancies are identified by new or old case law information brought forward through inmate appeals, information submitted through the Legal Processing Unit, or information provided via the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA).
For inmates to be considered a Retroactive Change in Law, the request must be based on new legislation or case law with retroactive application.