The issue is... CDCR accountability
In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 57 with the promise of rehabilitation programs to better help inmates re-integrate into society upon release. Releases under Proposition 57 included a hearing process that allowed for written participation by prosecutors and victims and survivors of crime.
But Prop. 57 also created a shadow program of “good conduct credits” that lacks oversight, opportunity for feedback, or a mechanism to show successes or failures of the program to help guide future policy decisions. Prop. 57 also quietly provided CDCR with the unilateral power to make major policy decisions without public or state officials’ feedback or review.
This shadow programming and lack of transparency has led to confusion and distrust. Reports have shown tragic stories of early release failures that resulted in more victimization, including a mass shooting in Sacramento, an early released felon killing a Selma police officer, an early released felon’s murder and dismemberment of a local woman, and the tragic death of Sacramento’s Mary Kate Tibbitts. Since these tragedies, there has been minimal reaction or explanation from CDCR or state officials.
What Placer DA is doing
The Placer District Attorney’s Office has been at the forefront of bringing these issues to the public eye and working to affect change.
- In May of 2021, District Attorney Morgan Gire along with 44 other elected district attorneys filed a civil lawsuit against CDCR challenging their “emergency” regulations.
- In August 2022, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office wrote a letter to CDCR outlining questions surrounding their early release protocols after one of their defendants was release early only to violently dismember an elderly woman.
- In early 2023, the Place County District Attorney’s Office sponsored AB 1260, which would require CDCR to notify victims when they release inmates for good conduct credits.
- In June of 2023, Placer DA joined CBS 13's Julie Watt's in a call for a state audit of CDCR.
LAWSUIT COUNTERING THE "EMERGENCY DECLARATION" TO RELEASE 76,000 INMATES
Placer County DA Morgan Gire joined statewide district attorneys in a lawsuit that requests the Superior Court to declare their "emergency" regulations unlawful and to prohibit CDCR from awarding additional credits until CDCR lawfully complies with the regulatory scheme, which would include a transparent and rigorous public comment period. Learn more
The release of Darnell Erby
In 2022, Darnell Erby was arrested and charged with the murder of a 77-year-old woman who was found dead on the morning of July 19 at her home in Sacramento. Her body was “dismembered beyond recognition,” Sacramento County sheriff’s officials said. Erby is accused of murder and burglary in connection with the victim’s death.
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office wrote a letter of opposition to Erby’s release in 2018 and again in January 2021. The 2018 letter stated Erby’s “repetitive behavior of committing felonies soon after being released from prison” and his “mindset is indicative of a current unreasonable risk of violence”. Further, the 2021 letter pointed out “the indisputable fact that institutionalization has done nothing to correct the inmate’s criminal behavior.” The letter concluded by stating that “continued incarceration appears to be the only way to guarantee that [Erby] will not continue to victimize people.”
On Aug. 8 the Placer County District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation asking a number of questions about the early release of Erby. Learn more
Assembly Bill 1260
AB 1260 would have required CDCR to alert DA’s and local law enforcement when they release inmates more than six months early from their initial sentence, as well as explain why inmates are eligible to be released early. The question is simple: do victims have the right to know when their aggressor is being released and why they are being released much earlier than the court sentence?
The answer from the State Legislature was ‘no’ and the bill was voted down. Learn more
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office is joining CBS13 CBS Sacramento / Julie Watts TV in their request to the California Legislature and State Auditor to pursue an audit of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
On June 22, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to the Chair of the California Assembly Public Safety Committee to request that he submit an audit request to the Joint Committee on Legislative Audit (often referred to as the Joint Legislative Audit Committee or ‘JLAC’) and the State Auditor.
“My office has done everything from drafting legislation to filing lawsuits and writing letters, to educating our communities and working with local media partners to try and hold CDCR accountable in releasing inmates early. It is critical to public safety and, frankly, to the public trust, that CDCR be transparent in how it determines inmates that are suitable for early release,” said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire. “Not only do we believe the voters were not aware of the unilateral power they gave to CDCR through Prop 57 to award credits, but to do so behind a veil of secrecy creates distrust and skepticism. Our community, particularly victims and survivors of crime and their families, deserve better.”
- Add your name or organization to the letter
- Read the full letter
- Read the press release
- Add questions to the audit request