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Chuckawalla Valley State Prison. (Photo: CDCR)

California to Release 18,000 Convicted Criminals by End of August

CDCR Secretary apologizes to convicts for ‘significant burden’

By Katy Grimes, July 16, 2020 6:52 am

While California is in another statewide lockdown of most businesses, and wearing masks is mandatory, Gov. Gavin Newsom is releasing convicted criminals from prisons and jails.

“Estimates of 8,000 inmates could be eligible for release by end of August, in addition to the state’s reduction of about 10,000 persons since the start of the pandemic,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Ralph Diaz announced this week. However, instead of apologizing to law abiding Californians, Secretary Diaz wrote a letter of apology to the convicted criminals, for the “significant burden you and your families continue to bear.”

CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz. (Photo: CDCR)

The corrections agency announcement also apologizes the “unnecessarily incarcerated:”

“The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today additional actions to protect its most vulnerable population and staff from COVID-19, and to allow state prisons to maximize available space to implement physical distancing, isolation, and quarantine efforts. The department estimates up to 8,000 currently incarcerated persons could be eligible for release by end of August under these new measures, further decompressing facilities.”

“We’re glad the Governor is taking action to release more people. This is absolutely critical for the health and safety of every Californian. Too many people are incarcerated for too long in facilities that spread poor health. Supporting the health and safety of all Californians means releasing people unnecessarily incarcerated and transforming our justice system,” said Jay Jordan, Executive Director, Californians for Safety and Justice.

Secretary Diaz added, “We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.”

The language is telling: “pandemic emergency decompression efforts.”

Outside of prisons and jails, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all law-abiding residents to wear masks and face coverings. However, no such order exists within the prisons and jails. If masks work, as the governor insists, why aren’t inmates wearing them?

Newsom issued an order Monday for the entire state to again close indoor businesses: Fitness centers and gyms, churches, offices, hair and nail salons and barbershops, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, museums, zoos and movie theaters are all subject to the latest lockdown.

While businesses are forced to close again, the governor is letting another 8,000 inmates out of prison, for a grand total of 18,000 convicted criminals on the streets.

Throughout the state, Democrat Mayors and city councils are calling for defunding the police. People who do not live in dangerous inner cities are demanding police budgets be cut – all while Gov. Newsom releases convicts from prisons and jails.

CDCR is using guidelines for release:

In order to be eligible, incarcerated persons must meet the following criteria:

    • Deemed high risk for COVID-19 complications by CCHCS
    • Not serving LWOP or condemned
    • Have an assessment indicating a low risk for violence
    • No high-risk sex offenders (HRSO)
      • HRSO indicates a convicted sex offender who is required to register pursuant to Penal Code Section 290, and has been identified to pose a higher risk to commit a new sex offense in the community, as determined using a standard risk assessment tools for sex offenders.


Here is CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz’s letter:

Letter to all incarcerated people

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation seal

Date: July 9, 2020

As we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our prisons, I want to acknowledge the significant burden you and your families continue to bear as a result of the extraordinary changes we have made to our operations.

Since March, you have endured the suspension of visits, reduced phone call schedules due to physical distancing and cleaning requirements, schedule changes, housing changes, program suspensions and extremely limited movement. Some have been endorsed for other institutions or programs and have not been able to transfer. At institutions that experienced outbreaks, you’ve gone through even more. All this is coupled with the worry you have for your health and that of your peers and loved ones. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has lost 32 people to this disease – I extend my sincerest condolences to their family, friends, co-workers, and communities.

To continue to effectively fight this virus, we must create more space in our prisons, both to expand physical distancing to slow COVID-19’s spread and to ease some of the immense challenges staff face every day. To do this, CDCR is expediting some releases and exploring other options. As part of those efforts, and to recognize the impact on programs and credit earnings during the COVID-19 pandemic, I announced today the CDCR will implement Positive Programming Credits (PPC).

This credit will provide 12 weeks of credit to everyone in CDCR custody, except those found guilty of a serious rules violation between March 1, 2020, and July 5, 2020. PPC will be awarded under the existing “Extraordinary Conduct Credits” in Title 15, which authorizes the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions to award credit to an incarcerated person who has “provided exceptional assistance in maintaining the safety and security of a prison.” As this authorization exists in state law and therefore does not require a regulation change, we must follow the exclusions outlined in the law, which means those serving life without the possibility of parole and people who are condemned are not eligible for credit-earning.

These credits are expected to be applied by August 1, 2020. For those whose Earliest Possible Release Date will be reached once the credit is applied, we expect releases to begin in August following normal processes outlined in Title 15.

While this will in no way make up for the multitude of changes and impacts to your lives this pandemic has necessitated, I hope it will play a part in recognizing your sacrifice and the role you continue to play in keeping the institutions safe and peaceful, which enables staff to focus on providing care to those who are ill. We cannot get through this without your understanding, patience, and support. Your efforts are appreciated.

With gratitude,

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34 thoughts on “California to Release 18,000 Convicted Criminals by End of August

  1. This is not just stupid, it’s crazy and very scary. Did they sign paperwork stating they would vote for Newsom??

    1. Oh my GOD! Karen, you’re on to something!!!!!!!!!!! THAT’s WHY! All the criminals are being let out in exchange for their democratic votes!

      1. Yep! That goes along with the change they are trying to do so felons can now vote!!!!! This is all crazy and unlawful! But democratics don’t follow the laws!!!!!

      2. Felons can’t vote you idiots! If you ppl actually did some research you would know that inmates are getting released a few months before they were already going to be released. Yes they committed a crime but, they didn’t get sentenced to LIFE! Which what you are saying they deserve by leaving them in overcrowded prisons.

  2. Wouldn’t it be better to Put them on 24 hour lock down and give them all masks quit outside visiting so we can protect our prisoners from this virus. It’s scary out here.

    1. they haven’t had any visits, they’ve been mandated to wear masks. And they have not been able to program to shorten their sentence because of being locked down.

  3. Wouldn’t it be better to Put them on 24 hour lock down and give them all masks quit outside visiting so we can protect our prisoners from this virus. It’s scary out here.

  4. I read this, shake my head , wonder, and ask myself “am I dreaming?” These people were put in prison for a REASON! THEY ARE DANGEROUS! And Gruesome is releasing them. Stay tuned folks the next step is more gun control! Thank you Katy for another informed article.

  5. Wait how contradictory. Did you guys actually read the article? It starts off with inmates are mandated to wear a mask. Yet the spread continues to rise. Then the author refers to Newsoms mandate of, “law abiding citizens mandated to wear a mask, but that no mandate for the inmates”. Inmates have been required to wear a mask for months now. And they are allowing a credit to inmates as a credit for their inability to shorten their sentances through programming which has been disrupted.

    1. I did not see that inmates are mandated to wear masks anywhere in this article and I read it twice. The spread continues to rise because the inmates are trying to get Wuhan. Find the video of the inmates in L.A. County jail doing this.

  6. Stupid doesn’t even cover the things and thinking’s of Newsome! I just want to know, did the department find these criminals (oops) a job before their let out? Newsom has closed businesses a lot of citizens are out of work. Just how is this to work? Oh, just give the newly released convicts $$$ to live on & what about health insurance? I guess California is in the money! There is a greater agenda going on here that the American/ California people don’t know.

    1. If I read the article correctly all inmates who are eligible for the 12 weeks credit will receive 12 weeks off their sentence. Therefore, there will continue to be early release even after the first 8000. And you are spot on about the job industry! Scary times happening NOW!

  7. This was the plan Democrats had before Covid-19. It has given them cover to actually do it in the open. They want to get rid of prisons. So what can go wrong with no police and jails. We may soon find out. Prisoners getting set free while everyone else is imprisoned at home, with the exception of BLM protestors of course.

  8. This wah-wah letter makes me furious!!! Some people have their loved ones locked away in nursing homes (or whatever place) and they haven’t seen them since February or March!!!! Where’s their gushy letter? This is simply hogwash!!!! They are criminals for crying out loud–they broke the law!!!! Our elders broke no laws and get treated like dirt–as do their families. Just not fair!!!!

    1. Totally agree. This virus has mad everyone stupid in their thinking. Tell that to the elderly stuck in a nursing home for the last 5 months without the right to see their families, have to stay in their rooms, have to wear a mask if they even come out of their rooms and most of the residents are put in bed and no one gets them up. Also, the residents can not even have any physical touch which if anyone has visited a nursing home. The residents need social touch and companionship. Why didn’t the convicts just stay in their cells and not let out? Because that is what the cdc is doing to these poor residents in nursing home. The residents are not even allowed any activities or connection with others. Tell you what the prisoners are going to do: they will commit more crimes against law abiding citizens. Time to stand up USA and take back our country from these left wingers and blm group.

  9. What about all of the crimes that these inmates committed but were never caught or convicted of? 3 strikes your out!
    These inmates for the most part have gotten away with multiple crimes, some of which could have been very violent including rape, murder, attempted Murder, assault with a deadly weapon and never been arrested or charged. They are prisoners and should remain in jail to serve their sentences.

  10. Time to buy guns…several and lots of ammo. I’ve been putting it off, but this is the last straw. And, I have no reservation whatsoever about making trips to NV for ammo stockpiling. Handguns, shotguns, a few rifles. Yep, that’s a start.

  11. If I were a victim of one of these criminals……..I’m not sure I could contain myself….I know going to court would not work……but maybe I would become proficient in using a crossbow……realizing of course……I would be let out of jail in just a short time……!!!

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