The California state government is expanding its early release program on Saturday, setting the stage for 76,000 currently incarcerated people to be released. 63,000 of them were previously convicted of violent crimes.
Out of these 63,000, 20,000 of them have been serving life sentences with possibility of being paroled. An additional 10,000 CA prison inmates were repeat offenders jailed under CA's "three strikes law", serving time for serious but non-violent crimes.
According to Fox News, this early release program will also be extended to inmates at minimum security facilities, who could have their time served as much as cut in half, regardless of what crime they were convicted for.
"The goal is to increase incentives for the incarcerated population to practice good behavior and follow the rules while serving their time, and participate in rehabilitative and educational programs, which will lead to safer prisons," said a California Department of Corrections spokesperson.
"Additionally, these changes would help to reduce the prison population by allowing incarcerated persons to earn their way home sooner,"
However, Kent Scheidegger of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, an organization that represents victims of crimes, feels that the benefits of this program are overstated, and that the program winds up being just another gross injustice in California.
"You don’t have to be good to get good time credits. People who lose good time credits for misconduct get them back, they don’t stay gone," he said. "They could be a useful device for managing the population if they had more teeth in them. But they don’t. They’re in reality just a giveaway."
These changes have been billed as "emergency regulations" due to COVID, and both government officials and the media have been largely silent on them.