Editor’s note: A misspelling of Assembly Member Suzette Valladares’ name has been corrected in this story.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A group of Republican lawmakers and victim advocates Thursday urged the California Legislature and governor to put a halt to the state’s temporary inmate credit program.
“The most basic responsibility of Government is to protect its people from violence,” Assemblymember Suzette Valladares said.
The program, put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, allows the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to boost credits for good behavior to inmates. It allows some violent offenders to earn more time off of their sentences.
The department is considering making it permanent.
The call from lawmakers and activists comes days after investigators revealed a suspect in the Sacramento shooting was released early from prison for having a combination of pre-and post-sentencing credits.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert insisted to keep him incarcerated.
“That’s not rehabilitation. That’s not helping people get back to a productive life,” said Assemblymember James Gallagher, R-Yuba City.
The group said law enforcement needs to have the tools to keep violent offenders off the street, including harsher penalties for gun and gang crimes. But they said stopping early releases for violent offenders could have an immediate effect.
“At this point in time, we need to focus on the reality of what got us here and start reversing the course back again,” said El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.
FOX40 reached out to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office for comment but has not heard back. Meanwhile, the CDCR is holding a hearing for public comment on the credit program on April 14. The CDCR also issued a statement:
Responding on behalf of the Gov press office, CDCR strongly condemns the tragic violence that occurred in downtown Sacramento this past weekend. We stand with our law enforcement partners in our unwavering dedication to protecting public safety and finding ways to make our communities safer.
The rate at which an individual is eligible to earn credits is in part based on what an individual is convicted of. California has made credit-earning opportunities accessible to incarcerated individuals for many decades, and increasing the rate of credit earning in furtherance of Proposition 57–which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2016–provides a compelling reason for individuals to engage in positive programming while serving their time. This can lead to improved behavior and instilling pro-social and vocational/educational skills to assist people in finding success, and avoiding recidivism, after incarceration.California Department of Corrections and Rehabiliation
Throughout the regulatory process for the proposed changes to the Good Conduct Credits, the department has consistently engaged with various stakeholders to ensure transparency and communication. We have also received several public comments on this issue, and will review all input from the public following the end of the public comment period later this month.