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AB-965 Youth offender hearings.(2019-2020)



Current Version: 10/08/19 - Chaptered         Compare Versions information image


AB965:v95#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 965
CHAPTER 577

An act to amend Section 3051 of the Penal Code, relating to parole.

[ Approved by Governor  October 08, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  October 08, 2019. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 965, Mark Stone. Youth offender hearings.
Existing law requires the Board of Parole Hearings to conduct a youth offender parole hearing for offenders sentenced to state prison who committed specified crimes when they were under 25 years of age. Existing law makes a person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger and for which the sentence is a determinate sentence eligible for release on parole at a youth offender hearing by the board during the person’s 15th year of incarceration. Existing law makes a person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger and for which the sentence is a life term of less than 25 years to life eligible for release on parole at a youth offender hearing by the board during the person’s 20th year of incarceration. Existing law makes a person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger and for which the sentence is a life term of 25 years to life eligible for release on parole at a youth offender hearing by the board during the person’s 25th year of incarceration.
This bill would require a person’s youth offender parole hearing to occur within 6 months of the first year they become eligible for a youth offender parole hearing under those provisions. The bill would also authorize the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to authorize those persons to obtain an earlier youth offender parole hearing by adopting regulations pursuant to specified provisions of the California Constitution.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Over the last several years, the state has made important investments in education and rehabilitation programs to help people in prison reintegrate into the community. As youth mature and are given opportunities to learn and grow, they can develop skills needed to become contributing members of society.
(b) The purpose of this act is to incentivize rehabilitation by allowing people to advance their youth parole eligible date through earning credits, starting with educational merit credits, at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The Legislature recognizes that it is within the full discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to determine what, if any, credit earning programs shall apply to an incarcerated person, including any and all credits to advance a youth parole eligible date.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3051 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

3051.
 (a) (1) A youth offender parole hearing is a hearing by the Board of Parole Hearings for the purpose of reviewing the parole suitability of any prisoner who was 25 years of age or younger, or was under 18 years of age as specified in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b), at the time of the controlling offense.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(A) “Incarceration” means detention in a city or county jail, a local juvenile facility, a mental health facility, a Division of Juvenile Justice facility, or a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facility.
(B) “Controlling offense” means the offense or enhancement for which any sentencing court imposed the longest term of imprisonment.
(C) “Youth parole eligible date” is the earliest date upon which a youth offender is eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing. Except as provided in subdivision (i) and Section 3051.1, youth offenders are entitled to their initial youth offender parole hearing within six months of their youth parole eligible date, as determined in subdivision (b), unless previously released or entitled to an earlier parole consideration hearing pursuant to any other law.
(b) (1) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger and for which the sentence is a determinate sentence shall be eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing during the person’s 15th year of incarceration. The youth parole eligible date for a person eligible for a youth offender parole hearing under this paragraph shall be the first day of the person’s 15th year of incarceration.
(2) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger and for which the sentence is a life term of less than 25 years to life shall be eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing during the person’s 20th year of incarceration. The youth parole eligible date for a person eligible for a youth offender parole hearing under this paragraph shall be the first day of the person’s 20th year of incarceration.
(3) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger and for which the sentence is a life term of 25 years to life shall be eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing during the person’s 25th year of incarceration. The youth parole eligible date for a person eligible for a youth offender parole hearing under this paragraph shall be the first day of the person’s 25th year of incarceration.
(4) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed before the person had attained 18 years of age and for which the sentence is life without the possibility of parole shall be eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing during the person’s 25th year of incarceration. The youth parole eligible date for a person eligible for a youth offender parole hearing under this paragraph shall be the first day of the person’s 25th year of incarceration.
(c) An individual subject to this section shall meet with the board pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 3041.
(d) The board shall conduct a youth offender parole hearing to consider release. At the youth offender parole hearing, the board shall release the individual on parole as provided in Section 3041, except that the board shall act in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 4801.
(e) The youth offender parole hearing to consider release shall provide for a meaningful opportunity to obtain release. The board shall review and, as necessary, revise existing regulations and adopt new regulations regarding determinations of suitability made pursuant to this section, subdivision (c) of Section 4801, and other related topics, consistent with relevant case law, in order to provide that meaningful opportunity for release.
(f) (1) In assessing growth and maturity, psychological evaluations and risk assessment instruments, if used by the board, shall be administered by licensed psychologists employed by the board and shall take into consideration the diminished culpability of youth as compared to that of adults, the hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the individual.
(2) Family members, friends, school personnel, faith leaders, and representatives from community-based organizations with knowledge about the individual before the crime or the individual’s growth and maturity since the time of the crime may submit statements for review by the board.
(3) This section is not intended to alter the rights of victims at parole hearings.
(g) If parole is not granted, the board shall set the time for a subsequent youth offender parole hearing in accordance with paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 3041.5. In exercising its discretion pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) and subdivision (d) of Section 3041.5, the board shall consider the factors in subdivision (c) of Section 4801. A subsequent youth offender parole hearing shall not be necessary if the offender is released pursuant to any other law prior to the date of the subsequent hearing.
(h) This section shall not apply to cases in which sentencing occurs pursuant to Section 1170.12, subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, of Section 667, or Section 667.61, or to cases in which an individual is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a controlling offense that was committed after the person had attained 18 years of age. This section shall not apply to an individual to whom this section would otherwise apply, but who, subsequent to attaining 26 years of age, commits an additional crime for which malice aforethought is a necessary element of the crime or for which the individual is sentenced to life in prison.
(i) (1) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings for individuals who became entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing prior to January 1, 2014, by July 1, 2015.
(2) (A) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings for individuals who were sentenced to indeterminate life terms and who become entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing on January 1, 2016, by July 1, 2017.
(B) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings for individuals who were sentenced to determinate terms and who become entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing on January 1, 2016, by July 1, 2021. The board shall, for all individuals described in this subparagraph, conduct the consultation described in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 before July 1, 2017.
(3) (A) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings for individuals who were sentenced to indeterminate life terms and who become entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing on January 1, 2018, by January 1, 2020.
(B) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings for individuals who were sentenced to determinate terms and who become entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing on January 1, 2018, by January 1, 2022. The board shall, for all individuals described in this subparagraph, conduct the consultation described in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 before January 1, 2019.
(4) The board shall complete, by July 1, 2020, all youth offender parole hearings for individuals who were sentenced to terms of life without the possibility of parole and who are or will be entitled to have their parole suitability considered at a youth offender parole hearing before July 1, 2020.
(j) The Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation may authorize persons described in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of subdivision (b) to obtain an earlier youth parole eligible date by adopting regulations pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 32 of Article 1 of the California Constitution.