May 1st, local time, the California government announced new rules to commute sentences for inmates to ease the burden on the prison system, a move that would lead to the early release of 76,000 inmates, including felons and life sentences.
Under the new rules, more than 63,000 prisoners jailed for violent crimes will be eligible for early release for good performance, and their sentences will be reduced to two-thirds, including nearly 20,000 life sentences.
In addition, more than 10,000 prisoners jailed for two non-violent crimes will be eligible for early release after serving half of their sentences. Early release is also expected to apply to nearly 2,900 inmates who have been jailed for nonviolent crimes on three occasions.
All prisoners at the minimum level of security involved in prison work, including those involved in fire camp projects, will be given the opportunity to reduce their sentences based on the length of their monthly work, regardless of the gravity of the crime.
U.S. media reported that the California government’s sudden move did not give enough notice to the outside world. Senator Jim Nielsen of California, for his part, criticized Governor Gavin Newsom, saying the decision to reduce the law was a unilateral decision by Mr. Newsome, not from the will of the people, putting Americans at greater risk.