Wilk urges state to prioritize public's safety when releasing dangerous 'nonviolent' felons

Wilk urges Californians to weigh-in during public comment period
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sacramento – Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, today submitted a letter to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) during a public comment period regarding proposed regulations that could lead to the early release of dangerous "nonviolent" inmates and diminish victim rights.

“It is no secret that areas of the high desert and Antelope Valley are plagued with crime, a situation exacerbated by early release measures passed by the Legislature and voters. Prisoners are routinely paroled via a one way bus ticket to downtown Victorville, altering the face of our downtown and making it more dangerous,” said Wilk. “In the Antelope Valley Officer Steve Owen, a family man and veteran of the police force was gunned down in cold blood last year by a parolee who should have been back in prison for violating his parole on numerous occasions. These policy changes have real consequences.”

In November 2016, California’s voters approved Proposition 57, which increased the number of inmates eligible for parole consideration and authorized CDCR to award sentencing credits to “nonviolent” inmates. CDCR is now tasked with setting up regulations to implement the law. Under state law, “nonviolent” felonies include but are not limited to crimes such as:

  • Human trafficking of a minor for labor
  • Battery with serious bodily harm
  • Assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer
  • Exploding a bomb with intent to harm

Senator Wilk supported Senate Bill 75, legislation by Senator Pat Bates that would have expanded the definition of “violent” felonies to address some of the issues raised by Prop. 57. A Senate committee rejected her bill on a partisan vote.

“When CDCR considers how to implement Proposition 57, which changes many ‘non-violent’ felonies to misdemeanors, I want the state to consider the full impact these changes have on victims, hard-working men and women living in high-crime areas and our police officers,” said Wilk. “We cannot promote a system where honest people live in fear while their communities are over-run by criminals.”

CDCR has opened a public comment period on Prop. 57 that will conclude with a public hearing in Sacramento on September 1, 2017. The public comment period is a chance for Californians to influence the final regulations of Prop. 57 to ensure that such criminals continue to serve their sentences.

Comments can be sent in one of three ways:

E-mail
CDCR-Prop57-Comments@cdcr.ca.gov

Regular Mail
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Attention: Regulation and Policy Management Branch
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA  94283-0001

Fax
(916) 324-6075, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Attention: Regulation and Policy Management Branch