Martinez, Calif. – Last Friday, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office was notified our office was selected to be a participant in the California County Resentencing Pilot Program. Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a budget bill which contained funding for the pilot program. The pilot program starts September 1 and consists of nine participating counties.
The pilot is overseen by the nonprofit For the People. Participating counties will develop protocols for processing resentencing applications from individuals serving custody within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The pilot program builds upon Assembly Bill 2942, which allows for a district attorney to review old sentences and determine if the sentence still serves the interest of justice and the community.
“I was proud to support AB 2942 and this funding further strengthens my office’s ability to process these requests in a timely manner. Excessive sentences undermine our ability to hold the most violent accountable for serious crimes in our community. The strain on the state prison and criminal justice system is immense from these failed policies of our past,” said Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.
The resources available to the participating counties will enable each office to better process requests for resentencing applications and evaluate a collaborative approach to conducting resentencing requests. In addition, as part of this pilot program, the DA’s Office will create a written policy to recommend individuals for resentencing, have training for staff to understand the obligations under state law for resentencing, and track data for each request.
Most recently, our Office supported Christopher Hales’ effort to be resentenced under AB 2942 for his 1995 felony arrest for his third robbery. Mr. Hales was 21 at the time of his conviction. He was originally sentenced to 89 years to life in state prison. Mr. Hales is the second person in Contra Costa County to be resentenced under this law.
The DA’s Office is set to receive $1,050,000 to fund the office’s participation in the pilot. The Public Defender’s Office will receive $750,000 and a local community-based organization will receive $250,000. The community-based organization will help individuals re-enter the community with support services. The Public Defender’s Office will advise the DA’s Office on potential candidates for resentencing.