Will Proposition 57 make me eligible for parole earlier?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Nov 09, 2016 | 0 Comments

On November 8, California voters passed Proposition 57 (Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements).

In a nutshell, Prop 57 increases the chances of parole for California inmates serving California state prison sentences for nonviolent felonies. The new law does this in two ways:

  1. By providing that nonviolent felons who have completed the sentence for their primary offense shall be eligible for consideration for parole; and
  2. By allowing inmates to earn credits for good behavior and educational or rehabilitative achievements.

Prop 57 is an important parole reform because of the plethora of sentence enhancements in California criminal law. Previously, state prison inmates had to wait until they had served their entire sentence, including any enhancements, before being eligible for parole (subject to credits for good behavior).

But now they will be eligible for parole once they have served the base sentence for the crime they were convicted of--not including any enhancements.

According to Governor Jerry Brown, a major proponent of Prop 57, this gives inmates greater incentive to participate in educational or rehabilitative activities in prison and to behave well while inside. Under previous law, the possibility of parole was so far off for many inmates that there seemed to be no point to good behavior. But under Prop 57 the light at the end of the tunnel will be closer.

So there is a real possibility that you, or a loved one, could be eligible for parole earlier thanks to Proposition 57. This is most likely to be the case if the defendant in question:

  • Is serving time in state prison for a felony,
  • Has not been convicted of a violent felony, and
  • Is serving a sentence that includes one or more enhancements, consecutive sentences or alternative sentences.

It is estimated that as many as 7,000 inmates could be immediately eligible for parole consideration thanks to Prop 57--and a total of 25,000 inmates may ultimately be affected by it.

For more information about Proposition 57, we strongly encourage you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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