Locking up criminals and throwing the away the key can be cruel and inhumane, especially when offenders committed their offenses as minors. Second chances are possible under a new law by Assemblymember Phil Ting that took effect on January 1, 2019. AB 2942 gives local prosecutors the discretion to review the cases of inmates whose prison sentences are excessively long and whose continued incarceration is no longer in the interest of justice. Kent Williams of San Diego (pictured above) is believed to be the first Californian released under Ting's law.
While public safety remains a key priority, emerging research supports changing tough-on-crime policies. A University of Chicago report, for instance, found longer prison sentences have marginal effects on reducing recidivism. In addition, results from a separate study by the Brennan Center for Justice indicate that prison sentences could by shortened by 25% across the board without a negative effect on public safety.
For The People was created to serve as the clearinghouse for people in prison and/or their loved ones to submit an application for the local district attorney to review. Qualifications include:
- Complete rehabilitation
- At least half of their sentence must have been served
- No longer poses a public safety threat
In July 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the California County Resentencing Pilot Program as part of the California 2021 Budget Act. Assemblymember Ting is Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee and fought to secure the funding. This is the first pilot of its kind across the country, in which nine California counties (Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Riverside, Contra Costa, San Diego, Yolo, Merced, and Humboldt) have been allocated budget specifically and solely for resentencing. For The People will work closely with District Attorneys, Public Defenders, and community leaders to continue the implementation of Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing. We can bring more people home with this innovation than ever before.
For more information or to submit an application, please visit: https://www.fortheppl.org/.