Statement: SB 261

Gov. Brown Signs Bill Giving Juveniles Sentenced to Prison a Second Chance 

SB 261 Expands Parole Hearings for Prisoners Sentenced as Youth

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 5, 2015

CONTACT: Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Jerry Brown today signed into law a bill that makes it possible for people in state prison who committed a crime as a juvenile or young adult to receive a parole hearing, after serving at least 15 years and being deemed rehabilitated.

SB 261, authored by state Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), would expand eligibility for a youth offender parole hearing to individuals who committed a crime prior to turning 23 and have already served a lengthy prison sentence. The bill excludes people sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, and anyone who committed certain crimes in prison after turning 18 years of age.

The following can be attributed to Lenore Anderson, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice:

“I applaud Sen. Hancock and all of our partners who sponsored SB 261 – this is a big step toward smart justice. Expanding parole hearings for someone sentenced as a youth will enable the state to better prioritize scarce, expensive prison beds. Granting opportunities for young people to work toward rehabilitation and parole after serving a lengthy prison sentence also acknowledges that people can change after youthful mistakes.”  

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