SACRAMENTO – Assembly members Susan Talamantes Eggman and Ken Cooley today announced legislation to allow parole violators to be returned to state prison.
In several high profile cases in California, including at least four in San Joaquin County, dangerous parolees were allowed to continue on parole despite repeat violations, and eventually committed heinous crimes.
Under prison realignment, higher risk offenders are still supervised by state parole, but may no longer be returned to prison for violating parole, and face a maximum of up to 180 days in county jail. Many jails, including the San Joaquin County Jail, are forced to release inmates early because they are already at maximum capacity.
“The state has already acknowledged these offenders are a higher risk,” Eggman said. “We need the flexibility to return the most dangerous parolees to prison when they violate parole.”
The changes Eggman and Cooley propose will allow parole violators to be returned to prison for up to one year.
“AB 601 is a common sense measure to give judges the ability to send violent offenders back to state prison, instead of county jail, when they purposefully violate parole. These criminals pose a serious public risk and our judiciary should have the discretion to send them back to keep the public safe from repeat offenders,” Cooley said.
Eggman said she acknowledges the need for some of realignment’s changes, but said that in taking away the option of prison for parole violators, it is proving a danger to the public.
“For serious, violent felons and high-risk sex offenders who violate their parole, prison simply can’t be off the table,” Eggman said.
As a Stockton city councilmember, Eggman saw the effect of prison realignment on San Joaquin County, where the justice system had already been stretched by budget cuts even before realignment shifted the burden for the supervision of former prison inmates from the state to counties.