(CALMATTERS) – Today, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta are set to unveil “new state efforts and proposed investments to fight and prevent crime in communities across California.” But as California Democrats — including former Gov. Jerry Brown — embrace tough-on-crime rhetoric, a little-known but influential committee is urging them to do the opposite.
Earlier this year, the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code — which consists of five Newsom appointees and two state legislators — saw Newsom sign six of its proposals into law, including ending mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and limiting California’s gang enhancement law. Now, in its recently released annual report, the commission wants Newsom and lawmakers to consider other controversial criminal justice reforms, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. They include:
- Repealing California’s three-strikes law, which requires sentences of 25 years to life for people convicted of a third felony after two serious or violent felonies.
- Making eligible for parole inmates currently serving life-without-parole sentences after 25 years in prison.
- In another recent report, the committee recommended ending the death penalty in California and resentencing many death row inmates to life in prison.
“California’s Penal Code must do more than incarcerate to make society safer for all,” the committee wrote in its annual report, citing research that found “incarceration is no better at reducing reoffending than … sanctions such as probation.” Michele Hanisee, president of Los Angeles County’s Association of Deputy District Attorneys, sees the committee’s work differently: “They’re … making the worst-of-the-worst murderers eligible for parole,” she told the Chronicle.