Bill Watch

Bill Would Dump Sentence Enhancement for Prior Felonies

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

A bill announced Wednesday would abolish a mandatory sentence enhancement affecting approximately one-third of California’s prison population, plus many more in county jails.

There are more than 100 sentence enhancements within the state’s Penal Code, some of which can turn a sentence of a few years into one of multiple decades.

During the state’s tough-on-crime decades, “we in California passed enhancement after enhancement, piled on top of each other, so that crimes, even often non-violent crimes would have incredibly long sentences,” said Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), principal author of the new bill, SB 136.

Sentence enhancements often disproportionately affect poor and minority Californians and reduce the likelihood of successful reentry, according to experts.

As of 2016, nearly four out of five CA prisoners had at least one sentence enhancement added to their sentence. One out of four people in prison were serving a sentence with three or more enhancements.

With SB 136, state legislators hope to eliminate a “broad” enhancement affecting a large portion of the people incarcerated in the state.

Under CA law, when a person is convicted of a violent felony, a mandatory sentence enhancement attaches an extra three years to the base sentence for every previous violent felony offense that person has committed. (Past violent felonies don’t qualify for this enhancement if the sentence was served more than 10 years prior, and the person has remained crime-free during that decade.)

But even individuals who have committed non-serious, non-violent felonies get hit with an additional year in prison for each previous felony conviction that resulted in a prison or jail term (with the same 10-year limit).

It’s this second group that SB 136 would help.

On Wednesday, backed by a coalition of fellow state legislators and criminal justice reform advocates, including the ACLU of California, Senator Weiner and co-author Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) introduced the new SB 136 to take the one-year sentence enhancement off the books.

“Automatically enhancing an individual’s sentence due to their history does not deter crime or increase public safety,” said Senator Wiener. “These enhancements are part of California’s tough-on-crime history, which has led to our state spending more on incarceration than on higher education, overcrowding in our prison system, and devastating impacts on communities of color and those impacted by the failed war on drugs.”

21 Comments

  • SMH, a felon commits another felony and we should help them. I don’t care how long it’s been history unfortunately has a history of repeating itself. Another out of touch Politician proposing a ridiculous idea. I could almost guarantee he does not live in an area where these felons live.

  • The good people of this state need to leave and leave now. Illegals, criminals, and blind liberals will be left to watch this state completely crumble and they will point fingers at everyone who left. The reality will be easily tracked by a decade of policies designed to turn this once beautiful state into a third world shit show run by, and for, corrupt socialist politicians and their voting base of ignorant leeches.
    The liberals will have the state they want. Witness LA and Celeste will have the state they want. They are in for a rude awakening and I can’t wait to watch from several states away.
    Do us a favor though. When you get run out, please don’t try to turn good states into another shithole.

  • Venezuela and France should be blaring examples of failed “socialist” policies and over-reaching politicians. Too bad the biased and left-wing controlled media propoganda machine is putting forth their one-sided anti Trump narrative. Let’s hope California doesn’t degenerate into a failed state such as Venezuela or the middle class rebel like in France.

    At one the me I would have said it could never happen here, ANTIFA and the like proved me wrong in that.

    If the CA political machine keeps on squeezing the middle class and ignoring their needs, it can only last so long until it reaches a flash point and implodes.

  • Wowzer: Because he didn’t mention the Sheriff, that means he’s a liar and a coward???

    I’m confused. His post was spot on and it angered you because he’s right.

    • We all know why he didn’t mention Villanueva’s name for the same reason that you haven’t mentioned him by name in your anti liberal diatribes as Villanueva’s political policies conflict with yours and because he’s your Boss.

  • Wowzer: I’ve been very clear about how I feel about my boss. I love EVERYTHING he has done except for the ICE thing. And that didn’t upset me all that much. Happy?

  • Out of touch, history has shown how those policies failed society and its time to reverse them. I doubt you live where the “felons” live, so do not worry too much. The scary felons aren’t going to get your little girl. On second thoughts, you may live near them, perhaps the deputy who was raping female inmates, or the LAPD officer picking up on little cadets, or the deputy robbing dope houses. Are any of those your neighbors? Maybe you should be scared.

    Bye, bye bye. Hope you are honest and principled and are leaving the state. I do not quite have the state I want, but this is a step in the right direction. And, do not worry, I will not be leaving for Kentucky, Louisiana, Georgia or any of those states that have their shit together, according to you. Can you rent a bus and take Ownership, Are You Kidding, Major Kong, Ownership and the rest of the nostalgic officers on this site with you. I understand they have had it with California, too.

    Wowzer, ease off Mr. Bye. I do not think he has the wherewithal to say anything to the top brass or to quit on principle. He complains here only, and cannot afford to lose his job. Where else will he have it as good?

  • @CF comical. I’d run througb a roster of all those houses in San Quentin but that would take to long. This is far from heading in the right direction. What’s the end goal of you think it is? What your imagination tells you could never exist.

  • CF: Why am I mentioned twice? I feel singled out. My feelings are deeply hurt.

    And I’ve been so nice lately. You cut me deep.

  • For the seconded time CF. I AM NOT IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.

    But I am going to stop keeping track of how many times you have to bring up race. I am now going to keep track of how often you have to bring up the same 3 bad apples out of a Dept of 10k.

  • So many people think that felons only live in poor neighborhoods with dimly lite streets. Open up your eyes, crime doesn’t discriminate it comes in every color and culture and its done in many different ways. You can live in a shack or in a mansion, crime happens.

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