The special directive issued by the new District Attorney of Los Angeles, George Gascon, has dramatically changed several policies that include a resentencing directive aimed at reducing the county’s skyrocketing prison population. As noted in the special directive, the rapid increase in the prison population of Los Angeles County and the State of California did not happen because there was an increase in crime. During the time our prisons increased in population, the number of crimes committed in Los Angeles County decreased.
Reasons for the Increase in Prison Population
The culprit of the rise in the county’s prison population was the implementation of much stricter sentencing laws that include Life Without the Possibility of Parole. There was also an increase in the mandatory minimum prison sentences, as well as the establishment of the controversial Three Strikes sentencing policy. Requirements that forced inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences also has contributed to the rising prison population in California and Los Angeles County
An Incarceration Crisis
As we head into 2021, there are more prisoners serving life sentences in the United States than the entire number of prisoners locked up in the United States during the 1970s. One in seven prisoners in America serves a life sentence.
Unfortunately, California has led the nation in the explosion of the number of incarcerations. In 1980, the state incarcerated 23,000 convicted criminals. Fast forward 20 years and the number of incarcerations jumped to 160,000 prisoners. A decision made by the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of overcrowding in the California penal system.
Closer to home, more than 30,000 residents of Los Angeles County currently serve sentences in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) system.
From 2019 through 2020, California spent nearly $16 billion on building new prisons and maintaining current prisons. For a state that struggles with finances, the amount of money spent on prisons represents almost eight percent of the state's annual budget. Money spent on prisons can be better used by addressing the rampant homeless problem and funding our state’s colleges and universities.
Addressing the Issue of an Aging Prison Population
Crime Curve Research reveals that the older a convicted criminal gets, the less likely the convicted criminals will commit a crime. By the time a convicted criminal hits the age of 30, the odds of that person committing another crime declines significantly. However, California and Los Angeles County have let prisoners age well into their fifties before entertaining the thought of holding a parole hearing.
Another issue is the lengthy sentences imposed on children and adolescents, without providing them a review of their behavior since the commission of their crimes. Research shows that many children and adolescents sentenced to long jail sentences can be rehabilitated for a successful re-entry into society.
Learn More About the Recent Special Directive
The special directive issued by LA County District Attorney George Gascon will impact thousands of people now incarcerated in county jail and state prison. If you face a long prison sentence without any chance of parole, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has a thorough understanding of what the new special directive means for clients.
Act today by contacting criminal defense lawyer Patrick Aguirre to determine whether you can obtain a resentencing that either reduces your term in jail or releases you from the California penal system. You can reach our office by submitting the online form or by calling us at one of two numbers: 800-572-1253 or 562-904-4337.