SAN JOSE (CBS 5) – With the passage of Proposition 36 on Election Day, California’s “Three Strikes” law could change the fates of thousands of state inmates, and now Santa Clara county is making plans for the transition.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen got out ahead of the curve and began compiling the list of inmates who could get released even before the votes were cast.
“This county was proactive because, as the District Attorney, I supported Proposition 36,” said Rosen. “I thought that reforming three strikes in this way would make the punishment fit the crime.”
Santa Clara County has 550 three strikes cases, where inmates are serving sentences of 25 years to life in prison. Of those, The D.A. determined 118 case are eligible for early release under Prop. 36.
They are cases that involve non-violent offenders who have already served as many as ten years in prison.
“It takes some people a while to learn from their mistakes. But the last mistake could put people away for life,” said Prop. 36 supporter Ahmad Martinez. “If it’s minor, (Prop. 36) gives people a fighting chance.”
Rosen said Prop. 36 will not be an automatic ticket to freedom for nonviolent offenders.
“One of the factors in resentencing someone will be how they behaved while they were in prison,” said Rosen.
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