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SB 260 (Hancock)
Youth offender parole hearings.

Existing law provides that the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or the Board of Parole Hearings, or both, may, for specified reasons, recommend to the court that a prisoner’s sentence be recalled, and that a court may recall a prisoner’s sentence. When a defendant who was under 18 years of age at the time of the commission of a crime has served at least 15 years of his or her sentence, existing law allows the defendant to submit a petition for recall and resentencing, and authorizes the court, in its discretion, to recall the sentence and to resentence the defendant, provided that the new sentence is not greater than the initial sentence.

This bill would require the Board of Parole Hearings to conduct a youth offender parole hearing to consider release of offenders who committed specified crimes prior to being 18 years of age and who were sentenced to state prison. The bill would make a person eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing during the 15th year of incarceration if the person meeting these criteria received a determinate sentence, during the 20th year if the person received a sentence that was less than 25 years to life, and during the 25th year of incarceration if the person received a sentence that was 25 years to life. The bill would require the board, in reviewing a prisoner’s suitability for parole, to give great weight to the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the prisoner in accordance with relevant case law. The bill would require that, in assessing growth and maturity, psychological evaluations and risk assessment instruments, if used by the board, be administered by licensed psychologists employed by the board and take into consideration the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to that of adults, the hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the individual. The bill would permit family members, friends, school personnel, faith leaders, and representatives from community-based organizations with knowledge about the young person prior to the crime or his or her growth and maturity since the commission of the crime to submit statements for review by the board.

Existing law requires the board to meet with each inmate sentenced pursuant to certain provisions of law during his or her 3rd year of incarceration for the purpose of reviewing his or her file, making recommendations, and documenting activities and conduct pertinent to granting or withholding postconviction credit.

This bill would instead require the board to meet with those inmates, including those who are eligible to be considered for parole pursuant to a youth offender parole hearing, during the 6th year prior to the inmate’s minimum eligible parole release date. The bill would also require the board to provide an inmate additional, specified information during this consultation, including individualized recommendations regarding the inmate’s work assignments, rehabilitative programs, and institutional behavior, and to provide those findings and recommendations, in writing, to the inmate within 30 days following the consultation.

Existing law, added by Proposition 8, adopted June 8, 1982, and amended by Proposition 36, adopted November 6, 2012, commonly known as the Three Strikes law, requires increased penalties for certain recidivist offenders in addition to any other enhancement or penalty provisions that may apply, including individuals with current and prior convictions of a serious felony, as specified.

Existing law, as amended by Proposition 83, adopted November 7, 2006, commonly known as Jessica’s Law, requires a person convicted of certain felonies under specified circumstances to be committed to prison for a term of years to life.

This bill would exempt from its provisions inmates who were sentenced pursuant to the Three Strikes law or Jessica’s Law, or sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The bill would not apply to an individual to whom the bill would otherwise apply, but who, subsequent to attaining 18 years of age, commits an additional crime for which malice aforethought is a necessary element of the crime or for which the individual is sentenced to life in prison.

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Bill Text

Bill Location
  • Secretary of State

  • Last Action:
  • 09/16/13: Chaptered by Secretary of State. Chapter 312, Statutes of 2013.

  • Bill Analysis
  • No analysis found.
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