Penal Code 3455 PC is the California statute that instructs courts how to treat ex-prisoners who violate the terms of their Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS). If a violation occurs, the code section states that the court may modify or revoke the PRCS or refer the person to reentry court.
Post Release Community Supervision is an alternate form of parole whereby the county manages lower-level felons after their release from state prison. Supervision under the program is no longer than three years. All felons leaving prison are subject to PRCS, unless they committed certain serious or violent offenses (such as murder, rape, or mayhem).
Note that community supervision is not the same thing as probation. Felony probation is a form of sentencing and serves as an alternative to placing a convicted felon in state prison.
Also note that PRCS is a different supervisory program than parole. Prior to 2011, all felons released from prison were placed on parole and supervised by the state. In 2011, though, California passed Assembly Bill 109, which is also referred to as “realignment.”
One result of this statute is that it created community supervision and said the following released felons would now be supervised by the community (as opposed to the state):
- non-violent and non-serious offenders, and
- non-sex offenders.
Parole still exists after AB 109, but it is used for those felons that have committed serious or violent felonies, or certain sex offenses (such as sodomy).
Our California criminal defense attorneys will explain the following in this article:
- 1. What is Post Release Community Supervision?
- 2. What are the requirements under 3455 PC?
- 3. Is PRCS the same as probation?
- 4. Is community supervision the same as parole?
1. What is Post Release Community Supervision?
Certain convicted felons get placed on PRCS after leaving California State Prison. While under supervision, they are required to abide by various relevant terms of condition. Common ones include attending a rehabilitation program and submitting to electronic monitoring.
All felons leaving state prisons are placed on community supervision. This is true unless they were convicted of any of the following crimes:
- a serious felony (such as lewd acts with a minor under 14),1
- a violent felony (such as robbery),2
- a sex offense where the felon is deemed high risk, or
- a crime for which the offender is serving a term of life in prison.3
Note that PRCS does not work to shorten any prison term. It rather:
- places a prisoner on supervision by a supervising county agency, and
- does so after he/she completes his/her imposed period of incarceration.
During supervision, offenders are:
- required to complete no more than three years of community supervision,
- eligible for discharge from supervision after six months, and
- able to end supervision after 12 months if they have not violated any conditions of supervision.4
2. What are the requirements under 3455 PC?
If a police officer has probable cause to believe a person violated the terms of his/her community supervision, the peace officer can seek the person’s arrest without a warrant. The county may then petition the court to revoke PRCS.5
If it chooses to do so, the county must include in its petition a written report that includes:
- any critical information to the petition,
- the relevant terms and conditions of post-release supervision,
- the circumstances of the alleged violation,
- the history and background of the violator (or person subject to PRCS), and
- any recommendations to the hearing officer.6
Note that the Judicial Council is required to adopt certain forms and rules of court to help a county board of supervisors to provide this information.7
3455 PC requires the court to hold a revocation hearing, or a court hearing, within a “reasonable time” after the revocation petition.8
The person, or subject of a petition, may remain in custody pending the hearing if:
- the person poses an unreasonable risk to public safety, or
- remaining in custody serves the interests of justice, and
- either of the above is supported by a showing of a “preponderance of the evidence.”9
If the revocation hearing officer finds that the person violated PRCS, the court may either:
- keep the person on PRCS, perhaps with additional conditions,
- revoke the PRCS and remand the person to county jail for up to 180 days, or
- refer the person to a reentry court (reentry court offers rehabilitative programs aimed to help offenders reenter society).10
People can always waive their right to a PRCS hearing. Some prefer to admit their violation and accept any conditions the county requests in the petition.11
Note that the trial court, and not the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), has the authority to determine who is subject to PRCS.12
3. Is PRCS the same as probation?
Community supervision is not the same thing as probation.
PRCS refers to a supervisory period where a county agency is responsible for monitoring a felon after his/her release from prison.
Felony probation, or formal probation, is part of a felon’s sentencing and it provides an alternative to placing a convicted felon in state prison.
Probation allows convicted felons to serve all or part of their sentence out of custody but under the supervision of a probation officer.
Not all defendants qualify for probation. A judge determines eligibility by considering a variety of factors, such as:
- the defendant’s criminal history, and
- the severity of the crime committed.13
A probation term lasts between three and five years. During this time, the probationer must adhere to “conditions of probation.” Examples include:
- reporting to a probation officer (P.O.) on a regular basis, and
- paying victim restitution.
If the probationer violates these conditions, then a judge may:
- warn the person and reinstate the same probation terms,
- modify the terms and include harsher conditions, or
- revoke it and send the person to county jail or state prison.
4. Is community supervision the same as parole?
PRCS is similar to parole in that they both involve the supervision of ex-prisoners. While PRCS involves community supervision, though, felons on parole are supervised on the state level.
In 2011, California voters passed Assembly Bill 109 (AB 109), known as “realignment.”
Prior to this statute, all felons released from prison were placed on parole. Now, those who have committed non-serious, nonviolent felonies are subject to PRCS and are supervised within his/her community. 14
Parole is still used, but it is reserved for those who:
- have committed serious or violent felonies,
- are high-risk sex offenders, or
- are mentally disordered.15
The CDCR oversees California’s parole system. Members of the department (e.g., “parole officers”) supervise released felons for the time for which they are on parole.
Once “paroled”, an inmate agrees to abide by certain terms and conditions.16 When an inmate is paroled depends on his or her sentence.
Not all inmates are eligible for parole. Eligibility typically depends on:
- the type of sentence the inmate received, and
- how “good time credit” applies to that sentence.
Once an inmate is placed on parole, the length of supervision depends on the crime for which he/she was convicted of. The average parole terms are about three years.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
- For a list of “serious felonies,” see California Penal Code 1192.7c PC.
- For a list of “violent felonies,” see California Penal Code 667.5c PC.
- California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website, “Post Release Community Supervision.”
- See same.
- California Penal Code 3455 PC.
- California Penal Code 3455a PC.
- See same.
- California Penal Code 3455b PC.
- See same.
- California Penal Code 3455a PC.
- See same.
- People v. Tubbs (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 578.
- California Rule of Court Rule 4.41.
- See Assembly Bill 109. See also People v. Gutierrez (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 393.
- See same.
- California Penal Code 3000 PC.