California is preparing for some changes to its parole system in 2016.
Two years ago, the state introduced “youth offender parole,” requiring the Board of Parole Hearings to “give great weight to the diminished culpability of juveniles...and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the prisoner” when considering inmates who committed their crime before the age of 18. Senate Bill 261, authored by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and narrowly passed by the Legislature this session, will expand those hearings to include inmates who committed their crime before the age of 23.
Senate Bill 230, also authored by Hancock and narrowly approved, mandates that prisoners be paroled once they are found suitable by the board. According to supporters, some inmates continue to be held for years after they are deemed suitable for parole because of enhancements that the board can add to their base terms, such as for additional criminal charges that did not result in a conviction.
The Board of Parole Hearings will discuss the implementation of those bills during its monthly meeting, 2 p.m. at its office on K Street.
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