Proposition 57

Proposition 57: The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 Frequently Asked Questions

Proposition 57 was overwhelmingly approved by voters in the November 2016 election to enhance public safety, to stop the revolving door of crime by emphasizing rehabilitation, and to prevent federal courts from releasing prisoners. Final Proposition 57 regulations were approved for permanent adoption by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and filed with the Secretary of State’s Office on May 1, 2018.

On December 11, 2018, CDCR filed proposed emergency regulations with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to expand nonviolent offender parole consideration under Proposition 57 to indeterminately-sentenced nonviolent offenders (nonviolent Third Strikers). The regulations created two separate processes for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.

Proposition 57 includes three major components designed to improve the juvenile and adult criminal justice system in California.

  • Establishes a parole consideration process for determinately-sentenced and indeterminately-sentenced people convicted of nonviolent crimes, as defined by California Penal Code, who have served the full term for their primary criminal offense and who demonstrate they no longer pose a current, unreasonable risk to the public.
  • Gives incarcerated people the opportunity to earn additional credits for good behavior and participation in rehabilitative, educational, and career training programs so they are better prepared to succeed and less likely to commit new crimes on the outside.
  • Requires judges, rather than prosecutors, to determine whether juveniles charged with certain crimes should be tried in juvenile or adult court.

Under Proposition 57, CDCR increased credits for Good Conduct and Milestone Completion Programs, and introduced credits for Rehabilitative Achievement and Educational Merit. Credit-earning opportunities incentivize incarcerated people to actively participate in their rehabilitation, while earning time off of their sentence.

All people in state prison, except those condemned to death or sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

People serving determinate sentences for nonviolent offenses have served the full term of their primary offense when they have served the longest term of imprisonment imposed by a court for any offense, excluding the imposition of an enhancement, consecutive sentence, or alternative sentence. The full term of a primary offense does not include post-sentencing credits. Proposition 57 does not create a right for these individuals to be released from prison. It gives the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) the authority to review eligible individuals in prison and, if they no longer pose a current, unreasonable risk of violence or significant criminal activity, determine whether they should be approved for release and supervised in the community.

People serving indeterminate sentences (life with the possibility of parole) for nonviolent offenses may be referred to BPH for a parole suitability hearing once they have served the full term of their primary offense, also defined as the longest term of imprisonment imposed by a court for any offense, excluding the imposition of an enhancement, consecutive sentence, or alternative sentence. CDCR will consider the aggravated term of the underlying nonviolent offense as the “term of imprisonment imposed by the court” for alternative sentences such as a 25 years to life term imposed under the Three Strikes Law. Only those indeterminately-sentenced individuals found by BPH to no longer pose a current, unreasonable risk to public safety after a full, in-person parole hearing will be granted parole.

(Note: A determinate term is a sentence of specified length. An indeterminate term is a sentence of unspecified length which ends only when the individual is granted parole by BPH.)

When Proposition 57 regulations were adopted in May 2018, they excluded people serving life with the possibility of parole from the nonviolent parole consideration process. This exclusion was challenged in court, and on September 7, 2018, the Second District Court of Appeals ordered the department to amend its regulations to expand parole consideration under Proposition 57 to people serving indeterminate sentences for nonviolent offenses.

Yes. Indeterminately-sentenced individuals referred to BPH will get a full in-person parole hearing. If they are granted parole, the decision will be reviewed by BPH and the Governor. A grant of parole may be vacated or rescinded. The current nonviolent parole consideration process for determinately-sentenced individuals consists of a paper review by BPH Deputy Commissioners, and the Governor does not have the authority to review that decision.

No. CDCR does not have the authority to resentence anybody, or change the Penal Code for crimes for which they are serving time.