Tuolumne County District Attorney Cassandra Ann Jenecke announced today that she and 27 other elected District Attorneys across California have been granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) preventing the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) from enacting an increase of 50% credits to 66% credits for second-strikers with serious and violent criminal histories. This effort was spearheaded by District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and her incredible team at the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office. The Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office is incredibly grateful for their effort and endless dedication to preserving the rights of crime victims.
This newest “emergency regulation” comes after CDCR’s recently enacted so-called “emergency” regulations that allows for additional credits to be awarded to serious and violent felons, including credits that are not based upon completing any rehabilitation programs. While CDCR’s newest regulations grant additional good conduct credits to inmates working in fire camp related activities, they also added additional credits to so-called “nonviolent” second strikers. Under California law, “nonviolent” felonies include domestic violence, rape of an unconscious person, human trafficking, and assault with a deadly weapon. “Second strike” refers to an inmate who was previously convicted of a serious or violent felony. Unrelated to fire camp credits, CDCR sought to increase credits to 66% conduct credits, two-thirds time off sentences, to second strike inmates housed at a minimum-security level A or B facility. CDCR did so amid litigation challenging additional credits for serious and violent offenders. This new class of credits will include convictions for domestic violence, human trafficking, animal cruelty and possession of weapons by individuals who have previous convictions for serious and violent felonies.
In order to stop the enforcement of this newest early release “emergency regulation,” the 28 DAs filed a TRO on December 22, 2021. On December 29, 2021, the Court granted the petition and issued the TRO against CDCR.
In 2015, the Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office began opposing the early release of “nonviolent” second-strike felons. While not every petition is opposed, our Office oppose those early releases where the offender has committed egregious crimes, have lengthy criminal histories, and those where the offenders have failed to improve themselves while incarcerated.
“Many of these so-called “nonviolent” second-strikers have long and violent criminal histories – including repeat felony domestic violence convictions, sexual assaults and gun violence,” said District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “Releasing these dangerous inmates after serving a small fraction of their sentences not only lacks accountability, it shortens effective rehabilitation, violates victims’ rights and is a significant threat to public safety. No one is contesting good conduct credits for fire camp work, but sneaking in another class of individuals with serious and violent criminal histories goes too far.”
District Attorney Jenecke emphasized again, as she did in May 2021, "Allowing the early release of dangerous criminals by shortening sentences by two-thirds detrimentally impacts the security granted to crime victims by a definitive sentence and creates a serious public safety risk. Doing so under the guise of emergency regulations taints the purpose and process and denies Californian's their ability to be heard on these issues. Crimes of violence have been steadily increasing across most of California. Allowing more early releases of inmates who have been convicted of heinous crimes or who have violent records, without any proof of rehabilitation, makes no one safer.”
An important fact to note is that California's prison population has dropped from 135,000 to about 95,000 over the last two years. It has not been overcrowded at any point during the last gubernatorial administration.