by Jeffrey Cawood
On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that thousands of inmates convicted of non-forcible sex crimes may be eligible for early release under a ballot measure that was overwhelmingly approved by voters four years ago.
The initiative, called Proposition 57, was written by then-Governor Jerry Brown (D) and passed by nearly two-thirds of the electorate. It was crafted to reduce the state’s prison population, saying any person found guilty of a “nonviolent felony offense” would be eligible for early parole. Brown said it was never intended to cover sex offenders. However, the original language did not exempt them from consideration. Lower appeals courts had ruled that nonviolent sex offenders could not be excluded, and the high court affirmed those rulings.