Legislation by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) to exclude rapists from early release from prison was defeated yesterday on a party-line vote in the Senate Public Safety Committee.
“Through a sneaky parliamentary trick last session, convicted rapists and other violent sexual offenders were declared ‘elderly’ at age 50 by the Legislature, thus making them eligible for earlier release under the elderly parole program,” stated a perturbed Senator Brian W. Jones "Current law is further rigged and forces the Board of Parole Hearings to justify why these violent sex offenders shouldn’t get out of prison early. Rape victims who want to make sure their attackers stay incarcerated have to show up year after year at parole hearings, begging the Parole Board to keep them locked up. Our SB 445 would have simply made these violent sexual offenders ineligible for early release as so-called ‘elderly’ prisoners."
A last minute gut-and-amend bill last year, Assembly Bill 3234 (by Democrat Phil Ting of San Francisco), lowered the age threshold for “elderly parole” from 60 years of age to 50 years of age. Despite the significant societal and fiscal impacts of the bill, AB 3234 was not heard in a single Senate committee but instead was rushed to the Senate Floor, where it was approved 27-10.
“SB 445 would protect victims from having to endure this distressing and traumatic parole hearing process,” testified an anonymous victim of a violent sex offense. “I implore you to stop violent sex offender rights from being valued over victim rights, and vote in favor of SB 445 to prevent further traumatization and suffering of victims.”
“The victims should not have to face the upheaval of a parole hearing on a violent sex offender who received a justifiable long term for the protection of society and future victims, given the well documented propensity of these inmates to reoffend,” stated retired Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs. “Elderly parole serves a useful purpose, but like most things in life, there are exceptions. This should be one of them.”
In yesterday’s committee hearing, Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) voted for Jones’s SB 445. Senators Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) voted against the measure and Senator Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) abstained.