DA Acts to Reduce Jail Population, Protect Public Safety

DA to Notify Victims of Expedited Prisoner Release

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said today her office has set up a special team tasked with locating and notifying local crime victims that a prisoner connected to their case is being released early by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). DA Stephan is also providing connections to victim resources, such as counseling and information on how to obtain a restraining order. [TWEET THIS]

TCDCR announced its decision last month to start expediting the release of certain, high-risk medical inmates, and certain inmates with less than a year remaining on their sentence, in an effort to lower the prison populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. If they meet specific conditions, CDCR estimates up to 8,000 currently incarcerated individuals could be eligible for release across the state by end of August. So far, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office has received notification that hundreds of prisoners have been released.

Unfortunately, neither crime victims nor the District Attorney are being given the opportunity to voice public safety concerns or object to the early releases and CDCR is only notifying victims registered with CDCR. District Attorneys around the state have stepped up to notify victims that inmates are being released.

“We were very concerned that with CDCR focused on reducing the prison population due to the pandemic, victims were not getting any opportunity to be heard in this process, nor was CDCR notifying victims so they can take steps to provide for their safety,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “While many of the inmates being released were already nearing the end of their terms, CDCR is also releasing inmates who were sentenced to life terms for very serious offenses. We requested notice before San Diego releases began taking place, and we were able to get assurances in that regard. CDCR is now sending out expedited release notices to our office and our team is working quickly to notify affected victims whom we are able to locate in the short notice we will have, and provide any needed resources.”

More details about prisoners eligible for release can be found here.

CDCR has said it will follow post-release requirements under the law, such as transferring offenders to county probation or remaining under state parole.

Any victim of crime concerned about an early release especially if not registered with VINE or who may have moved or changed numbers since the crime, should contact the District Attorney’s Victim Services Division at 619-531-4041. [TWEET THIS]