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Crime Victims United challenges early release bill in court

1 min read

Crime Victims United challenges early release bill in court

California’s new early release program, authorized by Senate Bill 18, will result in the early release of over 6,000 prison inmates classified as “low-risk” offenders. Proponents argue that the new program will save the state hundreds of millions, but it still raises the perennial question when it comes to the state’s prison policy: how safe is safe enough for Californians?

Crime Victims United, an advocacy group for the victims of violent crime, has filed a lawsuit against both the governor and the California Department of Corrections, arguing that the early release program is unconstitutional.

In 2008, voters passed Proposition 9, a victims bill of rights also referred to as “Marsy’s Law,” which amended California’s constitution to prohibit the early release of inmates by legislative or executive order to alleviate prison overcrowding. So under California’s constitution, a court’s sentencing cannot be “substantially diminished” by public policymakers.

Opponents of the new early release program also say it is just bad public policy. Nina Salarno, of Crime Victims United of California, disagrees with the state’s classification of “low-risk” offenders: “Domestic abuse is considered non-violent, child abuse, elder abuse- physical child abuse, is considered non-violent. Manslaughter is considered non-violent in the state of California.”

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