Calif. governor’s commutation of murderers’ sentences sparks controversy

20 violent offenders will now be granted hearings

By Corrections1 Staff

LOS ANGELES — With about four months left in office, California Governor Jerry Brown recently commuted the life sentences of 20 convicted murderers, according to the Washington Post

These, along with 1,100 pardons and 82 commutations over the past seven years, have established Brown as a champion of justice reform to some -- and “pro-offender” to others. 

“The sad reality is, California is not a victim-friendly state, it’s an offender-friendly state,” founder and chief executive of the Crime Survivors Resource Center Patricia Wenskunas told the Post. 

The commuted sentences may not be the “get out of jail free” cards that some detractors fear, however. With Brown’s commutations, the 20 offenders, whose sentences precluded the opportunity for parole, will be granted hearings. 

“There has been an overshoot in the time many people expect [criminals] to be locked up in a cage or cell,” Brown told the Post. “I think there’s wisdom in having the possibility of hope.”

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