BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY Senator Loni Hancock, Chair A 2011-2012 Regular Session B 4 4 AB 44 (Logue) As Amended March 24, 2011 Hearing date: July 5, 2011 Penal Code SM:dl NOTIFICATION OF INMATE RELEASE HISTORY Source: Author Prior Legislation: SB 1199 (Costa) - Ch. 1199, Stats. of 1999 AB 2294 (Sweeney) - Ch. 1103, Stats. of 1996 Support: California State Association of Counties; California State Sheriffs' Association; Regional Council of Rural Counties; Urban Counties Caucus Opposition:None known Assembly Floor Vote: Ayes 74 - Noes 0 KEY ISSUE SHOULD THE PERIOD OF TIME IN WHICH BPH OR CDCR MUST NOTIFY LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OF THE SCHEDULED RELEASE OF AN INMATE CONVICTED OF A VIOLENT FELONY BE EXTENDED FROM 45 DAYS TO 60 DAYS? PURPOSE (More) AB 44 (Logue) Page 2 The purpose of this bill is to extend from 45 days to 60 days the period of time in which BPH or CDCR must notify local law enforcement of the scheduled release of an inmate convicted of a violent felony. Existing law requires that whenever a person is confined in the state prison for a conviction of a violent felony, within 45 days of the scheduled release of that person, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) (in the case of determinately sentenced inmates) or the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) (in the case of indeterminately sentenced inmates) shall notify the sheriff, chief of police, or both, and the district attorney that have jurisdiction over the community in which the person was convicted and that have jurisdiction over the community in which the person is scheduled to be released. (Penal Code § 3058.6.) Existing law provides that the sheriff or the chief of police, when notified as to the pending release of a violent felon may, without incurring any liability, notify any person they deem appropriate of the pending release. (Penal Code § 3058.7(a).) Existing law also requires the CDCR or BPH to send a notice to a victim or witness who has requested notification that a person convicted of a violent felony is scheduled to be released. (Penal Code § 3058.8(a).) Existing law requires that, except as specified, an inmate who is released on parole or post release supervision shall be returned to the county that was the last legal residence of the inmate prior to his or her incarceration. Nonetheless, an inmate may be returned to another county if that would be in the best interests of the public. In making its decision, the paroling authority shall consider, among others, specified factors, giving the greatest weight to the protection of the victim and the safety of the community. (Penal Code § 3003(a), (b).) Existing law provides that an inmate who is released on parole (More) AB 44 (Logue) Page 3 shall not be returned to a location within 35 miles of the actual residence of a victim of, or a witness to, specified violent felonies or a felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice, as specified, if the victim or witness has requested additional distance in the placement of the inmate on parole, and if the BPH or the CDCR finds that there is a need to protect the life, safety, or well-being of a victim or witness. (Penal Code § 3003(f).) Existing law provides that an inmate who is released on parole for specified sex crimes whom the CDCR determines poses a high risk to the public shall not be placed or reside, for the duration of his or her parole, within one-half mile of any public or private school including any or all of kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive. (Penal Code § 3003(g).) Existing law provides that an inmate who is released on parole for an offense involving stalking shall not be returned to a location within 35 miles of the victim's actual residence or place of employment if the victim or witness has requested additional distance in the placement of the inmate on parole, and if the BPH or the CDCR finds that there is a need to protect the life, safety, or well-being of the victim. (Penal Code § 3003(h).) Existing law provides that the authority shall give consideration to the equitable distribution of parolees and the proportion of out-of-county commitments from a county compared to the number of commitments from that county when making parole decisions. (Penal Code § 3003(i).) This bill would extend from 45 days to 60 days the period of time in which BPH or CDCR must notify local law enforcement of the scheduled release of an inmate convicted of a violent felony. RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION (More) AB 44 (Logue) Page 4 For the last several years, severe overcrowding in California's prisons has been the focus of evolving and expensive litigation. As these cases have progressed, prison conditions have continued to be assailed, and the scrutiny of the federal courts over California's prisons has intensified. On June 30, 2005, in a class action lawsuit filed four years earlier, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California established a Receivership to take control of the delivery of medical services to all California state prisoners confined by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). In December of 2006, plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits against CDCR sought a court-ordered limit on the prison population pursuant to the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act. On January 12, 2010, a three-judge federal panel issued an order requiring California to reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity -- a reduction at that time of roughly 40,000 inmates -- within two years. The court stayed implementation of its ruling pending the state's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 23, 2011, the United States Supreme Court upheld the decision of the three-judge panel in its entirety, giving California two years from the date of its ruling to reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity, subject to the right of the state to seek modifications in appropriate circumstances.
In response to the unresolved prison capacity crisis, in early 2007 the Senate Committee on Public Safety began holding legislative proposals which could further exacerbate prison overcrowding through new or expanded felony prosecutions. (More) This bill does not appear to aggravate the prison overcrowding crisis described above. COMMENTS 1. Need for the Bill According to the author: The current timeline that CDCR follows to notify counties of the release of a parolee is problematic. The recent high profile release of Loren Herzog, a convicted serial killer, into Lassen County in my district caused a great deal of anxiety in the community and gave law enforcement very little time to prepare for Herzog's release. This is a perfect example of the need for CDCR to think further ahead than the current 45-day timeline. The solution proposed by AB 44 is to extend the required notification date from 45 days to 60 days before the release date. While not a perfect solution, this will give counties and law enforcement additional notice and reduce the likelihood of a short notice release. 2. Current Notification Procedures at CDCR CDCR summarized their current notification process as follows: The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) sends release notifications 90 days prior to parole to those victims/witnesses who have requested a notice. This will give victims adequate time to challenge the residential placement in accordance with established CDCR procedures. The CDCR also provides notification of release 60 days prior to parole to law enforcement agencies, district attorneys and family members pursuant to Penal Code (PC) Sections 3058.6, 3058.9, 3060.6, 3058.61 and (More) AB 44 (Logue) Page 6 3058.65. CDCR informed Committee staff that, whenever possible, they provide notice 90 days prior to the release of a person convicted of a violent felony to victims and witnesses who have requested such notice. SHOULD THIS NOTICE PERIOD BE EXTENDED? ***************