Amended in Senate March 24, 2015

Senate BillNo. 261


Introduced by Senator Hancock

February 18, 2015


An act to amendbegin delete Section 6250.5end deletebegin insert Sections 3051 and 4801end insert of the Penal Code, relating to begin deletecorrections.end deletebegin insert parole.end insert

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 261, as amended, Hancock. begin deleteCommunity correctional centers. end deletebegin insertYouth offender parole hearings.end insert

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Existing law generally requires the Board of Parole Hearings to conduct youth offender parole hearings to consider the release of offenders who committed specified crimes when they were under 18 years of age and who were sentenced to state prison.

end insert
begin insert

This bill would instead require the Board of Parole Hearings to conduct a youth offender parole hearing for offenders sentenced to state prison who committed those specified crimes when they were under 23 years of age. The bill would require the board to complete, by July 1, 2017, all youth offender parole hearings for individuals who become entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing on the effective date of the bill.

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Existing law authorizes the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to contract for the establishment and operation of community correctional facilities that offer programs for the treatment of addiction to alcohol or controlled substances, based on the therapeutic community model, under certain conditions. Existing law requires each facility under contract to provide programs that prepare each inmate for successful reintegration into society.

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This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

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Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: begin deleteno end deletebegin insertyesend insert. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 3051 of the end insertbegin insertPenal Codeend insertbegin insert is amended to
2read:end insert

3

3051.  

(a) (1) A youth offender parole hearing is a hearing by
4the Board of Parole Hearings for the purpose of reviewing the
5parole suitability of any prisoner who was underbegin delete 18end deletebegin insert 23end insert years of
6age at the time of his or her controlling offense.

7(2) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions
8shall apply:

9(A) “Incarceration” means detention in a city or county jail, a
10local juvenile facility, a mental health facility, a Division of
11Juvenile Justice facility, or a Department of Corrections and
12Rehabilitation facility.

13(B) “Controlling offense” means the offense or enhancement
14for which any sentencing court imposed the longest term of
15imprisonment.

16(b) (1) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense
17that was committed before the person had attainedbegin delete 18end deletebegin insert 23end insert years of
18age and for which the sentence is a determinate sentence shall be
19eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing
20by the board during his or her 15th year of incarceration, unless
21previously released pursuant to other statutory provisions.

22(2) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that
23was committed before the person had attainedbegin delete 18end deletebegin insert 23end insert years of age
24and for which the sentence is a life term of less than 25 years to
25life shall be eligible for release on parole by the board during his
26or her 20th year of incarceration at a youth offender parole hearing,
27unless previously released or entitled to an earlier parole
28consideration hearing pursuant to other statutory provisions.

29(3) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that
30was committed before the person had attainedbegin delete 18end deletebegin insert 23end insert years of age
31and for which the sentence is a life term of 25 years to life shall
32be eligible for release on parole by the board during his or her 25th
33year of incarceration at a youth offender parole hearing, unless
P3    1previously released or entitled to an earlier parole consideration
2hearing pursuant to other statutory provisions.

3(c) An individual subject to this section shall meet with the
4board pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 3041.

5(d) The board shall conduct a youth offender parole hearing to
6consider release. At the youth offender parole hearing, the board
7shall release the individual on parole as provided in Section 3041,
8except that the board shall act in accordance with subdivision (c)
9of Section 4801.

10(e) The youth offender parole hearing to consider release shall
11provide for a meaningful opportunity to obtain release. The board
12shall review and, as necessary, revise existing regulations and
13adopt new regulations regarding determinations of suitability made
14pursuant to this section, subdivision (c) of Section 4801, and other
15related topics, consistent with relevant case law, in order to provide
16that meaningful opportunity for release.

17(f) (1) In assessing growth and maturity, psychological
18evaluations and risk assessment instruments, if used by the board,
19shall be administered by licensed psychologists employed by the
20board and shall take into consideration the diminished culpability
21of juveniles as compared to that of adults, the hallmark features
22of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of
23the individual.

24(2) Family members, friends, school personnel, faith leaders,
25and representatives from community-based organizations with
26knowledge about the individual before the crime or his or her
27growth and maturity since the time of the crime may submit
28statements for review by the board.

29(3) Nothing in this section is intended to alter the rights of
30victims at parole hearings.

31(g) If parole is not granted, the board shall set the time for a
32subsequent youth offender parole hearing in accordance with
33paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 3041.5. In exercising
34its discretion pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) and
35subdivision (d) of Section 3041.5, the board shall consider the
36factors in subdivision (c) of Section 4801. No subsequent youth
37offender parole hearing shall be necessary if the offender is released
38pursuant to other statutory provisions prior to the date of the
39subsequent hearing.

P4    1(h) This section shall not apply to cases in which sentencing
2occurs pursuant to Section 1170.12, subdivisions (b) to (i),
3inclusive, of Section 667, or Section 667.61, or in which an
4individual was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility
5of parole. This section shall not apply to an individual to whom
6this section would otherwise apply, but who, subsequent to
7attainingbegin delete 18end deletebegin insert 23end insert years of age, commits an additional crime for which
8malice aforethought is a necessary element of the crime or for
9which the individual is sentenced to life in prison.

10(i) begin insert(1)end insertbegin insertend insert The board shall complete all youth offender parole
11hearings for individuals who become entitled to have their parole
12suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing on the
13effective date of this section by July 1, 2015.

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14(2) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings
15for individuals who become entitled to have their parole suitability
16considered at a youth offender parole hearing on the effective date
17of the act that added this paragraph by July 1, 2017.

end insert
18begin insert

begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 4801 of the end insertbegin insertPenal Codeend insertbegin insert is amended to read:end insert

19

4801.  

(a) The Board of Parole Hearings may report to the
20Governor, from time to time, the names of any and all persons
21imprisoned in any state prison who, in its judgment, ought to have
22a commutation of sentence or be pardoned and set at liberty on
23account of good conduct, or unusual term of sentence, or any other
24cause, including evidence of intimate partner battering and its
25effects. For purposes of this section, “intimate partner battering
26and its effects” may include evidence of the nature and effects of
27physical, emotional, or mental abuse upon the beliefs, perceptions,
28or behavior of victims of domestic violence if it appears the
29criminal behavior was the result of that victimization.

30(b) (1) The board, in reviewing a prisoner’s suitability for parole
31pursuant to Section 3041.5, shall give great weight to any
32information or evidence that, at the time of the commission of the
33crime, the prisoner had experienced intimate partner battering, but
34was convicted of an offense that occurred prior to August 29, 1996.
35The board shall state on the record the information or evidence
36that it considered pursuant to this subdivision, and the reasons for
37the parole decision. The board shall annually report to the
38Legislature and the Governor on the cases the board considered
39pursuant to this subdivision during the previous year, including
P5    1the board’s decisions and the specific and detailed findings of its
2investigations of these cases.

3(2) The report for the Legislature to be submitted pursuant to
4paragraph (1) shall be submitted pursuant to Section 9795 of the
5Government Code.

6(3) The fact that a prisoner has presented evidence of intimate
7partner battering cannot be used to support a finding that the
8prisoner lacks insight into his or her crime and its causes.

9(c) When a prisoner committed his or her controlling offense,
10as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 3051, prior to attainingbegin delete 18end delete
11begin insert 23end insert years of age, the board, in reviewing a prisoner’s suitability for
12parole pursuant to Section 3041.5, shall give great weight to the
13diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the
14hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and
15increased maturity of the prisoner in accordance with relevant case
16law.

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17

SECTION 1.  

Section 6250.5 of the Penal Code is amended to
18read:

19

6250.5.  

(a) The Secretary of the Department of Corrections
20and Rehabilitation may contract for the establishment and operation
21of community correctional facilities that offer programs for the
22treatment of addiction to alcohol or controlled substances based
23on the therapeutic community model, only if the cost per inmate
24of operating the facilities will be less than the cost per inmate of
25operating similar state facilities. The Legislature finds and declares
26that the purpose of a therapeutic community program, which
27emphasizes alcohol and controlled substance rehabilitation, is to
28substantially increase the likelihood of successful parole for those
29inmates.

30(b) Each facility under contract pursuant to this section shall
31provide programs that prepare each inmate for successful
32reintegration into society. Those programs shall involve constant
33counseling in drug and alcohol abuse, employment skills, victim
34awareness, and family responsibility, and generally shall prepare
35each inmate for return to society. The programs also shall
36emphasize literacy training and use computer-supported training
37so that inmates may improve their reading and writing skills. The
38program shall include postincarceration counseling and care in
39order to ensure a greater opportunity for success.

P6    1(c) The department may enter into a long-term agreement, not
2to exceed 20 years, for transfer of prisoners to, or placement of
3prisoners in, facilities under contract pursuant to this section.

4(d) The department shall provide for the review of an agreement
5entered into under this section to determine if the contractor is in
6compliance with the terms of this section. The review shall be
7conducted at least every five years. The department may revoke
8any agreement if the contractor is not in compliance with this
9section.

10(e) Notwithstanding the Public Contract Code or Article 10
11(commencing with Section 1200) of Title 15 of the California Code
12of Regulations, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
13shall select an independent contractor to conduct an annual audit
14and cost comparison evaluation of any programs established under
15this section. A contract for annual audits and evaluation shall
16 provide that the annual report, whether in final or draft form, and
17all working papers and data, shall be available for immediate
18review upon request by the department.

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