Board of Parole Hearings
Non-Violent, Non-Sex-Registrant, Second-Strike Review Process


Overview

On February 10, 2014, the Three Judge Panel in the Plata/Coleman class action lawsuit ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to create and implement “a new parole determination process through which non-violent second-strikers will be eligible for parole consideration by the Board of Parole Hearings (board) once they have served 50% of their sentence.” The process began January 1, 2015. The state is in the process of transitioning inmates from this process to the Nonviolent Offender Parole Review Process, which was implemented on July 1, 2017. As a result, inmates will no longer be referred to the Board of Parole of Parole Hearings under this program.

Eligibility

Before June 30th, inmates whose terms doubled pursuant to Penal Code section 667(b)-(i) or Penal Code section 1170.12 and who had served 50 percent of their actual sentence, or who were within 12 months of having served 50 percent of their actual sentence were eligible for review for possible release. Inmates were not eligible if they were required to register as sex offenders pursuant to Penal Code section 290 based on a current or prior conviction. Inmates were also not eligible if they had a current violent offense pursuant to Penal Code section 667.5(c). In addition, certain inmates will were ineligible based on specified negative institutional behavior.

Inmates were screened for eligibility at their annual unit classification committee review once they had served 50 percent of their actual sentence or were within 12 months of having served 50 percent of their actual sentence, as determined by case records personnel.

Inmates could request to review their central file prior to their annual classification committee review, consistent with existing policies and procedures for requesting review of central files (DOM section13030.16 et seq.) If an inmate was deemed eligible, the inmate was referred to the board for review for possible release.
At the conclusion of the unit classification committee, the chairperson of the classification committee informed the inmate whether or not he or she had been deemed eligible for referral to the board. If eligible, they were also informed that they could submit a written statement to the board regarding his or her release, if he or she wished to do so.

Input from Inmates, District Attorneys, Victims, and the Public

Inmates had 30 days from the date of the referral to submit a written statement. The board notified the district attorney’s office from the inmate’s county of commitment and any victims registered with the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services about the referral and requested that they submit any written statement they wished to have the board consider within 30 days.

Hearing Officers and Procedure

For inmates who were referred to the board prior to July 1, 2017, will be reviewed by a deputy commissioner, who will determine whether the inmate’s release would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety. There will be no hearing. The review will occur within 50 days from the date the unit classification committee referred the inmate to the board, or if the inmate has not yet served 50 percent of his or her sentence, the board will conduct the review once the inmate is within 60 days of serving 50 percent of his or her sentence.

The deputy commissioner will review all relevant and reliable information, including the inmate’s criminal history, institutional behavior, rehabilitation efforts, and any written statements received. The deputy commissioner will document his or her decision in writing, a copy of which will be provided to the inmate by institutional staff. In addition, the board will send a letter to the district attorney’s office from the inmate’s county of commitment and any victims registered with CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services informing them of the board’s decision.

A referral to the board may be rescinded by a classification committee at any time prior to the inmate’s release if the inmate’s case factors change such that he or she is no longer eligible for release as a non-violent, non-sex-registrant, second-strike inmate. For example, if an inmate is found guilty of a rules violation that makes them ineligible for referral to the board, the inmate will be scheduled for a classification committee review to determine if the referral to the board remains appropriate. If the committee determines the referral is no longer appropriate, the referral will be rescinded. If the board has already rendered a decision, it will be vacated and the inmate, District Attorney, and registered victims will be notified.

In addition, the board will be notified of any disciplinary action taken against an inmate who has been referred to the board for consideration for release. If a decision has already been rendered, the board may affirm or vacate the decision based on the information provided. If the decision is vacated, the inmate, District Attorney, and registered victims will be notified.

If the board decides not to release an inmate, the inmate will be reviewed again for possible referral one year from the date of the board’s decision.

Decision Review

The board’s decisions concerning the release of non-violent, non-sex-registrant, second-strike inmates are subject to review, upon request, within 30 days of the date of the board’s decision. Persons requesting review should identify why they believe the board’s decision was in error and submit their request in writing to:

Board of Parole Hearings
Attention: Non-Violent Second Strikers
Correspondence – NVSS
P.O. Box 4036
Sacramento, CA 95812-4036

Reviews will be conducted by an Associate Chief Deputy Commissioner. The board will process a request to review a decision and issue a decision upholding or vacating the original decision. The person requesting decision review will be notified of the outcome of the review. In addition, the district attorney’s office and victims who received notice of the referral will be notified if the review results in a reversal of the original decision.

Release of Inmate

An inmate who is approved for release by the board will be released to state parole or post release community supervision as required by statute no later than 50 days after the board’s decision. All notifications to law enforcement and victims required by statute will be prepared by the institution’s case records staff. No inmate will be released prior to serving 50 percent of his or her actual term as determined by case records staff.