Inmate Release Scaled Back

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says they will no longer release about 100-120 inmates into Bakersfield Thursday morning.Statement from the District Attorney-

District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer announced today that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has changed their decision regarding the release of approximately 120 inmates to Bakersfield Thursday morning.

After collaboration with District Attorney Zimmer, Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin and

Assemblyman Vince Fong, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh reached out to the CDCR through the

Governor’s Office last night with concerns about the abnormally large number of inmates scheduled to be released. CDCR Undersecretary Kathleen Allison responded to the Mayor’s concerns and stated that CDCR would now redirect many of the paroled inmates to other counties.

Zimmer’s office explains that the news comes as a relief, although provides little consolation in light of the enormous number of inmates already being released to Kern County in the wake of Proposition 57 and recent judicial interpretations of that proposition which dramatically shorten the date of parole eligibility for many of Kern Counties’ most violent inmates.

What was originally packaged to voters as a relief for non-violent offenders, Prop 57 has become a windfall for predominantly the most violent. That is because as originally sold to voters, Prop 57 grants parole eligibility to all offenders after they have completed the full term of their primary offense provided the offense was, “nonviolent”. Following the passage of Prop 57, however, the phrase, “full term for the primary offense” has come to be interpreted to mean, not the full term of the sentence, but the term of the underlying offense, minus any time that was imposed because of other aggravating factors, such as the fact that prior to the current offense the offender had committed two or more serious or violent felonies.

The result is that truly nonviolent offenders see little to no relief from Prop 57, while offenders with a history of violence whose last offense happened to be non-violent become eligible for early release. Prop 57 now offers a reprieve, not for those who abstain from violence, but for those who have a proclivity for it.

As such, inmates who stand to benefit the most from the changes include offenders previously convicted of two or more serious or violent felonies and sentenced to life in prison whose most recent felony conviction happened to be non-violent. Under the new law, such offenders become eligible for early parole after serving only a fraction of their originally imposed sentence.