Written by attorney John M. Kaman

Realignment 101, Part 3: No More Parole

Under the new law, persons who serve all their time on a county jail felony will not undergo either a period of parole or probation following release. For those who are sentenced to less than the maximum and who are given a period of probation after their release almost everything changes.

Parole as administered by the CDC will be eliminated for such county jail felonies and replaced by county run Postrelease Community Supervision. The conditions of such supervision will be defined by statute and should be uniform for most probationers.

This change reflects the belief that the criminal justice system as it exists is broken. Parole has not been shown to reduce recidivism. Parole violations are punished are punished by up to a year in state prison; such punishments for a technical violation of parole accomplish little except to burden the state prison system.

Under the new Postrelease Community Supervision program people who violate their probation will be pounished by "flash" incarceration. Flash incarceration means immediate periods of additional jail time between 1 and 10 days. Current correctional thinking is that the certainty of punishment for such violations will do more to deter recidivism than the present system of unpredictable punishment for parole violations. Flash incarcerations would occur in county jail.

If the local agency administering such flash incarceration determines that intermediate punishment is ineffective, probation can be revoked with resulting additional time up to 180 days.

The present parole system will continue to exist for those confined to state prison for serious crimes, violent crimes, high risk sex offenders, third strikers and mentally disordered offenders.

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