BILL NUMBER: SB 261	AMENDED
	BILL TEXT

	AMENDED IN SENATE  JUNE 1, 2015
	AMENDED IN SENATE  MARCH 24, 2015

INTRODUCED BY   Senator Hancock

                        FEBRUARY 18, 2015

   An act to amend Sections 3051 and 4801 of the Penal Code, relating
to parole.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   SB 261, as amended, Hancock. Youth offender parole hearings.
   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.
   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 were sentenced to indeterminate life terms  who become
entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth
offender parole hearing on the effective date of the bill.  The
bill would require the board to complete all youth offender parole
hearings for individuals who were sentenced to determinate terms who
become entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a
youth offender parole hearing on the effective date of the bill by
July 1, 2021, and would require the board, for these individuals, to
conduct a specified consultation before July 1, 2017. 
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Section 3051 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
   3051.  (a) (1) A youth offender parole hearing is a hearing by the
Board of Parole Hearings for the purpose of reviewing the parole
suitability of any prisoner who was under 23 years of age at the time
of his or her controlling offense.
   (2) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions
shall apply:
   (A) "Incarceration" means detention in a city or county jail, a
local juvenile facility, a mental health facility, a Division of
Juvenile Justice facility, or a Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation facility.
   (B) "Controlling offense" means the offense or enhancement for
which any sentencing court imposed the longest term of imprisonment.
   (b) (1) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that
was committed before the person had attained 23 years of age and for
which the sentence is a determinate sentence shall be eligible for
release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing by the board
during his or her 15th year of incarceration, unless previously
released pursuant to other statutory provisions.
   (2) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was
committed before the person had attained 23 years of age and for
which the sentence is a life term of less than 25 years to life shall
be eligible for release on parole by the board during his or her
20th year of incarceration at a youth offender parole hearing, unless
previously released or entitled to an earlier parole consideration
hearing pursuant to other statutory provisions.
   (3) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was
committed before the person had attained 23 years of age and for
which the sentence is a life term of 25 years to life shall be
eligible for release on parole by the board during his or her 25th
year of incarceration at a youth offender parole hearing, unless
previously released or entitled to an earlier parole consideration
hearing pursuant to other statutory provisions.
   (c) An individual subject to this section shall meet with the
board pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 3041.
   (d) The board shall conduct a youth offender parole hearing to
consider release. At the youth offender parole hearing, the board
shall release the individual on parole as provided in Section 3041,
except that the board shall act in accordance with subdivision (c) of
Section 4801.
   (e) The youth offender parole hearing to consider release shall
provide for a meaningful opportunity to obtain release. The board
shall review and, as necessary, revise existing regulations and adopt
new regulations regarding determinations of suitability made
pursuant to this section, subdivision (c) of Section 4801, and other
related topics, consistent with relevant case law, in order to
provide that meaningful opportunity for release.
   (f) (1) In assessing growth and maturity, psychological
evaluations and risk assessment instruments, if used by the board,
shall be administered by licensed psychologists employed by the board
and shall take into consideration the diminished culpability of
juveniles as compared to that of adults, the hallmark features of
youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the
individual.
   (2) Family members, friends, school personnel, faith leaders, and
representatives from community-based organizations with knowledge
about the individual before the crime or his or her growth and
maturity since the time of the crime may submit statements for review
by the board.
   (3) Nothing in this section is intended to alter the rights of
victims at parole hearings.
   (g) If parole is not granted, the board shall set the time for a
subsequent youth offender parole hearing in accordance with paragraph
(3) of subdivision (b) of Section 3041.5. In exercising its
discretion pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) and
subdivision (d) of Section 3041.5, the board shall consider the
factors in subdivision (c) of Section 4801. No subsequent youth
offender parole hearing shall be necessary if the offender is
released pursuant to other statutory provisions prior to the date of
the subsequent hearing.
   (h) This section shall not apply to cases in which sentencing
occurs pursuant to Section 1170.12, subdivisions (b) to (i),
inclusive, of Section 667, or Section 667.61, or in which an
individual was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of
parole. This section shall not apply to an individual to whom this
section would otherwise apply, but who, subsequent to attaining 23
years of age, commits an additional crime for which malice
aforethought is a necessary element of the crime or for which the
individual is sentenced to life in prison.
   (i) (1) The board shall complete all youth offender parole
hearings for individuals who  become   became
 entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth
offender parole hearing  on the effective date of this
section   prior to the effective   date of the
act that added paragraph (2)  by July 1, 2015.
   (2)  (A)    The board shall complete all youth
offender parole hearings for individuals  who were sentenced to
indeterminate life terms and  who become entitled to have their
parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing on
the effective date of the act that added this paragraph by July 1,
2017. 
   (B) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings
for individuals who were sentenced to determinate terms and who
become entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a
youth offender parole hearing on the effective date of the act that
added this paragraph by July 1, 2021. The board shall, for all
individuals described in this subparagraph, conduct the consultation
described in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 before July 1, 2017.

  SEC. 2.  Section 4801 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
   4801.  (a) The Board of Parole Hearings may report to the
Governor, from time to time, the names of any and all persons
imprisoned in any state prison who, in its judgment, ought to have a
commutation of sentence or be pardoned and set at liberty on account
of good conduct, or unusual term of sentence, or any other cause,
including evidence of intimate partner battering and its effects. For
purposes of this section, "intimate partner battering and its
effects" may include evidence of the nature and effects of physical,
emotional, or mental abuse upon the beliefs, perceptions, or behavior
of victims of domestic violence if it appears the criminal behavior
was the result of that victimization.
   (b) (1) The board, in reviewing a prisoner's suitability for
parole pursuant to Section 3041.5, shall give great weight to any
information or evidence that, at the time of the commission of the
crime, the prisoner had experienced intimate partner battering, but
was convicted of an offense that occurred prior to August 29, 1996.
The board shall state on the record the information or evidence that
it considered pursuant to this subdivision, and the reasons for the
parole decision. The board shall annually report to the Legislature
and the Governor on the cases the board considered pursuant to this
subdivision during the previous year, including the board's decisions
and the specific and detailed findings of its investigations of
these cases.
   (2) The report for the Legislature to be submitted pursuant to
paragraph (1) shall be submitted pursuant to Section 9795 of the
Government Code.
   (3) The fact that a prisoner has presented evidence of intimate
partner battering cannot be used to support a finding that the
prisoner lacks insight into his or her crime and its causes.
   (c) When a prisoner committed his or her controlling offense, as
defined in subdivision (a) of Section 3051, prior to attaining 23
years of age, the board, in reviewing a prisoner's suitability for
parole pursuant to Section 3041.5, shall give great weight to the
diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the
hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased
maturity of the prisoner in accordance with relevant case law.