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A hiker passes by a group of women prisoners on work release from the California Department of Corrections in Ramona in 2015.
A hiker passes by a group of women prisoners on work release from the California Department of Corrections in Ramona in 2015. A judge this week halted a credit increase that would have released prisoners who had served just a third of their sentences. Photo by Melissa Kopka
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Judge halts custody credit increases for certain prison inmates

REGION — A judge this week halted state prison officials from enacting a planned increase in the amount of custody credits some inmates would receive, stemming from a filing brought by more than two dozen California district attorney’s offices, including San Diego County’s.

The temporary restraining order granted by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadei prevents the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from increasing good conduct credits from 50% to 66%, which would allow certain inmates to be released after serving a third of their sentences, as opposed to half under the old rules.

In a statement, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said CDCR’s newest regulations applied to inmates working in fire camps, but the change would also have applied to “second-strike” inmates.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, whose office was the lead author of the temporary restraining order filed last week, said in a statement, “Many of these so-called ‘nonviolent’ second-strikers have long and violent criminal histories — including repeat felony domestic violence convictions, sexual assaults and gun violence.

0cf0b9c3-1c02-4c93-9633-452376f89eb0_DAs Granted TRO News Release 12-29-2021

“Releasing these dangerous inmates after serving a small fraction of their sentences not only lacks accountability, it shortens effective rehabilitation, violates victims’ rights and is a significant threat to public safety. No one is contesting good conduct credits for fire camp work, but sneaking in another class of individuals with serious and violent criminal histories goes too far.”

CDCR representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said, “Releasing inmates early who have committed atrocious crimes after only serving a fraction of their sentence threatens the safety of our communities and is a slap in the face to crime victims who are still suffering.

“My fellow District Attorneys and I do not contest good conduct credits for fire camp work, but extending those credits to inmates with serious and violent criminal histories is not in the interest of justice or the public’s safety.”

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