Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced he’s coauthoring a bill designed to bring accountability and transparency to the prisoner early release process.
“The status quo is dangerous and the public is right to want some answers on how and why a dangerous prisoner is granted early release,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “The recent senseless killing of an officer in Fresno County by a newly released dangerous felon is a tragic example of a criminals-first agenda gone awry. All the finger pointing by government officials still leaves this question unanswered: How was it decided that he should be let out? The silence is deafening and an insult to the families of the victims.”
Senate Bill 288 (Janet Nguyen, R-Huntington Beach) would require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation CDCR to make public the calculations used to decide a prisoner’s early release.
On Jan. 31, Selma police officer and father-to-be Gonzalo Carrasco Jr. was shot and killed. The suspect in the case is 23-year-old Nathaniel Dixon, a convicted felon with a history of robbery, firearms possession and drug offenses.
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp said in a statement, “Gov. (Gavin) Newsom and every legislator in the state of California who supports this over-reaching phenomenon [recent early release credit reforms] they try to disguise as legitimate criminal justice reform, has the blood of this officer on their hands.”
Another example of the flawed early release policy happened in April 2022, when career criminal Smiley Martin participated in a Sacramento shooting that left six dead, said the statement released by Wilk’s office. He was released just two months before that shooting despite his criminal history, the statement said.
When questioned about the Martin release, CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said, “I can’t calculate how he got out in the time that he did.”
“Rather than creating more victims, let’s add transparency to the process,” Wilk added. “Accountability might give someone pause before deciding to let a dangerous criminal out early.”