California lawmakers have approved two bills that seek to reform the state’s criminal justice system by reducing prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes and eliminating costly fees levied against youth offenders and their families. The bills are part of the #EquityandJustice package sponsored by state Sens. Holly J. Mitchell, D-Los Angeles and Ricardo Lara, D-Long Beach. Both houses of the legislature have approved the bills — SB 180 and SB 190 — and they now await action from Gov. Jerry Brown.
SB180, the Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancement Act (RISE Act), seeks to repeal specified sections of Health & Safety Code 11370.2 to remove sentencing enhancements that can add multiple additional three-year terms of incarceration for each prior conviction of nonviolent drug offenses.
“What this bill is simply saying is, ‘If I committed a crime in the past, served my time in the past, I should not automatically, for a nonviolent drug offense have three-plus years added to my sentence when all of these other enhancements are currently on the books and the judge can use their discretion to currently augment my sentence for the current crime at hand,’” said Mitchell in a June Assembly hearing.
SB 180 does not impact sentence enhancements for selling drugs near schools and possession of more than 1 kilo. Currently, the base sentence for drug possession for sale is two to four years in jail.
“It’s a real relic of the war on drugs in the sense that the goal was to reduce drug use, to deter drug sales. All it succeeding in doing is…
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