From Assemblymember Phil Ting

Second Chances Pilot Program

Locking up non-violent incarcerated people and throwing away the key shouldn't always be the answer to ensure public safety. But under California's previous Three Strikes law, many of them are languishing in our prison system under old sentencing standards, even though they are rehabilitated and no longer pose a threat to society.

As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I championed $18 million over three years for a pilot program that opens a pathway to second chances for certain incarcerated people. Nine counties, including San Francisco, will use the funding to implement a law I authored, AB 2942, which gives local district attorneys the ability to review old cases that resulted in extremely long prison terms.

If they deem further incarceration would no longer be in the interest of justice, resentencing and/or release could be recommended to a judge who decides whether to approve it. For Kent Williams, the San Diego D.A. went through the two-step process allowed under AB 2942 and secured his freedom in 2019. The 57-year-old had been serving 50 years-to-life since 2003 for residential burglary and car theft - a sentence that would not be as harsh under today's guidelines.

AB2942 Press Conference

Mr. Williams is among the first beneficiaries of the law. I hope state funding helps counties get the resources to jumpstart the new resentencing pilot program and begin reevaluating decades-old files. California spends as much as $16 billion annually on prisons, nearly four times what we give to the University of California. It should be the other way around, and AB 2942 is one way to help us achieve that without sacrificing public safety.


Assemblymember, 19th District

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