State Approves SB 1393 to Return Sentencing to Judges

The California Senate approved another moderate reform rooted in evidence-based policy and sensible cost-effective approaches to criminal justice.

Specifically, Senate Bill 1393, the Fair and Just Sentencing Reform Act, would eliminate automatic penalties that have contributed to the state’s mass incarceration crisis and failed ‘tough on crime’ policies by returning discretion in sentencing of serious felonies to judges.

If signed into law, SB 1393 would apply to mandatory five-year sentence enhancements. It is one of five bills in the #EquityAndJustice2018 package carried jointly by Sens. Holly J. Mitchell and Ricardo Lara as follow-up measures to last year’s successful reforms.

“Mass incarceration is a massive moral failure and policy failure,” Mitchell said. “It’s a moral failure because we now know that it is injurious to families and to the economies of low-income communities. We all value, respect and want communities that are safe. This will help us move in a strategic, smart way to help an overburdened, high-cost, criminal justice system.”

Lara agreed.

“Harsh penalties and growing jail populations have failed to reduce crime, but they have had a devastating impact on a generation of young black and Latino men,” Lara said. “Incarcerating someone for extra years without regard for the facts of their case does not serve the interest of justice or rehabilitation.”

As written, SB 1393 would restore the court’s discretion to strike sentence enhancements for prior felony convictions when a person is charged with a serious felony. It would retain existing sanctions for the most serious crimes.

The measure has been endorsed by at least a dozen newspapers statewide, including the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Daily News.

It is sponsored by 10 community and public-interest groups, including the ACLU of California Center for Advocacy and Policy; the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles; the California Coalition for Women Prisoners; Californians United for a Responsible Budget; the Drug Policy Alliance; the Women’s Foundation of California; and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Letters of support have also been received from at least 60 persons and organizations, including the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; the Greenlining Institute; San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi; and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

The remaining bills in this year’s #EquityAndJustice2018 package by the Los Angeles-area Democrats are:

SB 439 – Minimum Age Incarceration

This juvenile justice-reform measure would exclude children age 11 and younger from juvenile court jurisdiction and would promote the rights, health and well-being of the child by curbing premature exposure to incarceration. Status: Awaiting review by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

SB 1050 – Services for exonerated people

This would provide services and support for exonerated people after prison, including healthcare, work training and updating exoneree records to reflect their wrongful convictions. Status: Approved 38-0 by the Senate and now awaiting review by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

SB 1391 – Justice for children under age 16

Ensures that youth ages 14 and 15 who commit crimes get the services and help they need by prohibiting them from being tried as adults and keeping them in the juvenile justice system. Status: Awaiting review by Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 1392 – One-Year Repeal

This proposal would repeal the 1-year sentence enhancement for felony convictions Status: Waiting to be taken up by the Senate.

SB 1393 will next be heard by the Assembly Public Safety Committee; no date has yet been set.

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13 Comments

  1. Thank you to you all for helping with the SB1392with the enhancement being removed I really deeply appreciate all that what you guys are doing to help release our loved ones giving them a chance to come home thank you all

  2. I’m so grateful to all those that have helped push this Bill… I pray we are able to bring my husband home soon

  3. Please pass this bill so many of us are tired of seeing are love one’s suffer so big for something small.

  4. Please someone reach out and explain all of this to me. I’m not dumb by any means but all of this is confusing, but my fiancé has two life sentences and went in with only 15 years but also 2 strikes he would’ve been home in 2 years, now it seems as though CDC needs to keep people who have committed crimes when they were young, or were having substance abuse issues and such. Instead of the BOP making the decision to not let someone go or letting the officers write their “utmost truthful reports” they should find another method so there isn’t a mass waste of human life in which God created, and yes made a mistake but not everyone deserves to be there forever, ridiculous and I don’t know what I can do to fix or help fix, but I WILL HELP CREATE THE CHANGE!

  5. Please Jesus, pass!!! And bring my little brother and others home, continue Strength and energy to all those who are working for this process, And compassion and understanding for those in need to pass this bill in the mighty name of Jesus Amen

  6. Can anyone say for certain if any of these bills are retroactive? I recall many of our hopes were shattered when the gun enhancement was not retroactive

  7. Please pass SB 1393. I am a 71-year-old great grandmother that lives alone and need my only son home.

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