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- Early Prison Releases
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In January 2015, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) began a new parole determination process, evaluating “non-violent second-strikers” for early parole. If early release is granted, they are released after serving only 50% of their sentences. Under existing law, they would otherwise have to serve 80% of their sentences before being eligible for parole.
Upon receipt of inmate names from CDCR with a recommendation for release, the Board of Parole Hearings [BPH] conducts an administrative review to determine if the inmate should be released early from prison as a ‘non-violent second-striker.’ BPH forwards the names of these eligible inmates to District Attorneys’ offices and invites input in making their determination about the inmate’s potential early release. Unlike parole hearings, where the prosecution, defense attorney and victim may appear, there is no public hearing for these administrative reviews. Rather, the decision is made purely by CDCR administrative staff. Additionally, prior to consideration for early release, no evidence-based “risk assessment” is conducted to determine if the inmate poses a danger to the public.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office takes an active role in evaluating these cases and writes letters to the Board with an overview of the inmate’s criminal history and current commitment offense, an opinion regarding the public safety risk posed by the inmate, and the appropriateness of an offender’s early release. The Board determines whether an offender would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety based on their prior criminal history, facts behind their current commitment offense, behavior in prison, rehabilitation efforts, whether the inmate has any medical condition which might affect his ability to re-offend, and written statements.
In November 2015, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office began posting on its website information about “non-violent second-strike” offenders who have been granted early release from prison.
As of March 31, 2017, 214 inmates sentenced from Sacramento County have been granted early prison releases. Given the number of violent offenders who continue to be granted early release, DA Anne Marie Schubert began monthly updates to provide the public with a sampling of the noteworthy criminals who appear to pose a risk to public safety, but are being granted early release into our community as ‘non-violent second-strikers.’
In the month of March, inmates granted early prison release include:
Freddie Washington (Case #09F02466) – Washington’s first conviction in 1975 involved a firearm. Washington’s first strike conviction was in 1978 for robbery. In 1982, he was convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. His second strike conviction was in 1985 for assault with a firearm plus enhancements for use of a firearm and inflicting great bodily injury. In that case, the victim visited the home of the mother of his minor daughter. Washington was at the house when the victim arrived. When the victim decided to leave the residence, Washington followed him and fired a single shot into the unarmed victim’s left shoulder and neck. The victim fell to the ground and Washington fled the scene. The bullet lodged in the victim’s spine, permanently paralyzing him (with the exception of his right arm) from the neck down. In 2010, Washington was convicted of his current offense. In that case, Washington was found to be a large scale drug dealer. When law enforcement obtained a search warrant, a search of Washington’s homes and vehicles led to the recovery of a quarter pound of cocaine base and a firearm. Washington was convicted of transportation of cocaine base and possession of cocaine base for sale. He received a sentence of 14 years in prison. Washington is a two-striker with a violent criminal history going back 42 years, including shooting and crippling an innocent victim for life, robbery, possessing firearms and large scale drug dealing. Opposition Letter
The Early Prison Releases webpage can be found at www.sacda.org/early prison releases.
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