Due to prison overcrowding and the budget crisis, the California legislature acted last year to shorten prison and jail sentences. Now, the legislature has voted to repeal that legislation and restore the older, longer sentences, even though our budget is still in crisis and too many people are in jail. Here’s what you need to know.
Initially, a person in prison or jail would receive 1/3 good conduct credits, or 2 days of credit for every 4 actual days spent in jail. On January 25 of 2010 that changed to 1/2 good conduct credits, so that a person would receive 4 days of credit for every 4 actual days spent in jail. So if a person were convicted of a crime and sentenced to 100 days in a jail facility before 1/25/10, they would have to spend 67 actual days. If a person were convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail on or after January 25, 2010, because of the change in the credit law, they would only have to serve 50 days. There were exceptions for registered sex offenders and certain violent felons.
Now, on September 28, 2010, the law was changed back to its original form. For crimes committed on or after September 28, 2010, only 1/3 credit will generally be awarded. If the crime occurred between January 25 and September 25, 2010, the defendant is entitled to 1/2 time credits even if he was not convicted and sentenced until some time after September 28th.
All of these changes in the law can be confusing even to criminal defense lawyers. If you have questions or concerns about your sentence or that of a loved one, you should consult with a lawyer about your case.