Inmates who committed serious crimes when they were minors but were prosecuted as adults will have a new opportunity to get out of prison under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday night.
The new law will allow eligible inmates to have their cases reviewed for possible release as early as 15 years into their prison sentence.
Brown signed a bill last year that gave similar rights to juvenile offenders serving life sentences without possibility of parole.
The measure signed by Brown on Monday will cover thousands more inmates who were serving long-term sentences. There are more than 6,500 inmates in state prisons who were under 18 when they committed their crimes but were prosecuted as adults.
“This bill gives young people hope and incentive to reform, reflect and improve their lives,” Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), author of SB 260, told The Times when the measure was sent to Brown last week.
The measure was signed on the same night the Brown administration formally asked a federal three-judge panel for more time to reduce the state’s prison population through a series of programs aimed at reducing recidivism. If the judges reject the order, Brown has signed a fallback plan that would send thousands of additional inmates out of state to alleviate California’s overcrowded prisons.