DA’s Office Safeguards Victim’s Right to Know

Due to recent changes in California law, as well as circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, some inmates are being released from custody earlier than the date originally determined at the time of sentencing.

The District Attorney’s Office strives to contact all victims to notify them of changes in sentencing, release dates, and parole hearing dates. Victims are also encouraged to register for notifications from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and/or Santa Rita Jail. The DA’s Office will always respond to calls and e-mails in our effort to keep you informed and answer questions.

Victims, their next of kin, and witnesses who testified against the offender all have the right to be informed of any change in a release date.

Reasons underlying early release include:

Changes in the law and at the CDCR may result in an offender being released or qualifying for a parole hearing earlier than anticipated. These include:

Youthful Offender Parole Hearings – In 2018, the legislature expanded the definition of a “youthful offender” to include anyone who was under the age of 26 when they committed their crime. This created new parole opportunities for many offenders. Anyone who is sentenced to more than 15 years but has less than a life sentence will automatically get a parole hearing in their 15th year of incarceration. Anyone sentenced to less than 25 years to life receives a hearing in their 20th year, and any youthful offender sentenced to more than 25 years to life will have a parole hearing in their 25th year of incarceration.

Elder Parole Hearings – Inmates 60 or older and who have been in custody for 25 years or more qualify to have a parole hearing.

Expanded Medical Parole Hearings – If an inmate has certain medical conditions they can be released to a skilled nursing facility.

Compassionate Releases – recommended by CDCR due to inmate’s health condition and heard by a judge to determine if the inmate should be resentenced and released.

Nonviolent Parole Hearings – Proposition 57 was passed by the voters in 2016. It established a pathway to early parole for offenders who are serving sentences for crimes deemed “nonviolent” by the Penal Code. Prop 57 also created ways for offenders to earn additional credits towards their sentences, which leads to earlier release dates.

To be notified directly by CDCR of a release date or parole hearing, please register at:

https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/

Once on the site, please sign up for 1707 notifications: select Victims Services option drop down menu and choose Request Services (this will take you directly to the 1707 instructions).

To view if an inmate is in CDCR custody: select Offender Info option drop down menu and choose Inmate Locator.

Victims and their next of kin have the right to participate in Parole Hearings to have their voice heard.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, incarcerated individuals may be released from custody (county jail or prison) earlier than anticipated.

To register for notification of release from Santa Rita Jail, register at: www.vinelink.com

Select the state and follow the prompts.

To register for notification of release from State Prison, register at: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/

Once on the site, please sign up for 1707 notifications: select Victims Services option drop down menu and choose Request Services (this will take you directly to the 1707 instructions).

To view if an inmate is in CDC custody: select Offender Info option drop down menu and choose Inmate Locator.

Felony Murder Cases:

In January 2019, the California legislature changed the long-existing murder laws, narrowing the definition of murder. These laws are retroactive, so people who were convicted of murder in the past can petition to have the court review whether they could still be convicted of murder today. If they could not, they are entitled to have their murder conviction vacated and replaced with a conviction for a lesser crime. The changes to the law affect only a small portion of murder convictions.

Prior Felony Convictions:

Sometimes CDCR asks the District Attorney’s Office to reconsider and reduce an inmate’s sentence. Such request may arise based on the inmate’s behavior in the prison system or because the inmate has serious medical conditions. When the DA’s Office receives such requests, it considers CDCR’s position as well as concerns for fundamental fairness and the impact on victims before making any decisions.

For information regarding release dates and registration for automatic notifications contact Victim/Witness Advocate Supervisor Maria Suniga @ 510-272-6191 email: maria.suniga@acgov.org

For information regarding Parole Hearings contact Assistant District Attorney Jill Klinge: 510-272-6306 email: jill.klinge@acgov.org

For information regarding resentencing contact Assistant District Attorney Kim Hunter: 510-272-6222 and kim.hunter@acgov.org