California Governor Gavin Newsom is set to release at least 63,000 dangerous prisoners convicted of violent crimes in an effort to create “safer prisons” in the state.
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“The goal is to increase incentives for the incarcerated population to practice good behavior and follow the rules while serving their time and participate in rehabilitative and educational programs, which will lead to safer prisons,” Dana Simas, a state Office of Administrative Law spokeswoman, declared in a statement.
“Additionally, these changes would help to reduce the prison population by allowing incarcerated persons to earn their way home sooner,” she added.
Washingtonexaminer.com reports: These “incentives” are a part of an effort to give inmates “good time credits” to quicken their release.
Of those who are set to be released, nearly 20,000 are serving life sentences. Another 10,000 inmates were convicted for serious nonviolent offenses who have served half of their initial sentence.
Criminal Justice Legal Foundation Legal Director Kent Scheidegger slammed the state for releasing the prisoners, arguing the plan was “just a giveaway” and not “useful” in determining whether an inmate should or should not be released.
“You don’t have to be good to get good time credits. People who lose good time credits for misconduct get them back, they don’t stay gone,” he told NBC News. “They could be a useful device for managing the population if they had more teeth in them. But they don’t. They’re, in reality, just a giveaway.”
He also said inmates should not be released sooner just because they acquired the credits.
A number of Republican lawmakers in the state have opposed the move and criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom for acting “on his own authority, instead of the will of the people.”
“This is what I call Newsom’s time off for bad behavior. He’s putting us all at greater risk, and there seems to be no end to the degree to which he wants to do that,” Republican state Sen. Jim Nielsen said.
Democrats in the state, however, have called for the state to release more convicted criminals and to close the depreciated detention facilities.
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