Ron Freitas
District Attorney

Proposition 57
Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016

California Proposition 57, also known as the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, was a ballot initiative that passed in California on November 8, 2016. The primary goals of Prop 57 were to increase parole and good behavior opportunities for nonviolent offenders, as well as to give juvenile offenders the possibility of having their cases heard in juvenile court instead of being automatically transferred to adult court.

Prop 57 made several key changes to the California criminal justice system:

  • Parole opportunities: Allows nonviolent felons to be considered for parole after they completed the full term of their primary offense, rather than having to serve additional time for any sentencing enhancements or other charges. While the responsibility of determining parole eligibility primarily falls on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the District Attorney’s office may provide input on specific cases, including any objections or recommendations regarding an inmate's suitability for parole. DAs may present their concerns to the parole board, which takes them into consideration when making a decision.
  • Credit-earning opportunities: Allows the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to award credits for good behavior, educational achievements, and rehabilitation activities, potentially reducing the time nonviolent inmates spend behind bars.
  • Juvenile court hearings: Prop 57 removed the authority of prosecutors to directly file charges against juvenile defendants in adult court. Instead, a judge would be required to review the case and determine whether the juvenile should be tried as an adult or be sent to the juvenile court system. If the DDA prosecuting the case believes a juvenile offender should be tried as an adult. During the transfer hearing, the DDA will present evidence and arguments to persuade the judge that the juvenile should be transferred to adult court. The judge then makes a decision based on criteria such as the severity of the offense, the juvenile's maturity, and their potential for rehabilitation.

The District Attorney’s office plays an essential role in promoting public safety and the effective implementation of Prop 57's goals. They are responsible for prosecuting crimes, ensuring that offenders are held accountable for their actions, and advocating for appropriate sentencing that balances the need for public safety with the goals of rehabilitation and reducing recidivism.