Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Limit Early Release for Child Sex Offenders

Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Limit Early Release for Child Sex Offenders
California Assemblyman Juan Alanis, R-Modesto, speaks at a press conference where California Assemblymembers, law enforcement officials, and local representatives propose to put stricter fentanyl enforcement on the upcoming 2024 ballot, in front of the Capitol in Sacramento on June 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Assembly Republican Caucus)
Sophie Li

A California lawmaker who has vowed to keep sex offenders in jail recently introduced a bill aimed at prohibiting child sex offenders from receiving early release credits.

Assembly Bill 1898, authored by Assemblyman Heath Flora, who represents the northern San Joaquin Valley, aims to prevent early prison release for those serving time for certain serious crimes such as creating, sharing, or possessing sexual images of someone under 18.

“There are some prison sentences that shouldn’t get shortened just because you behaved yourself while incarcerated,” Mr. Flora wrote on a Facebook post in February shortly after introducing the legislation.

According to the lawmaker, the bill expands current legislation on restricting offenses related to child sexual crimes.

“Committing acts of physical sexual violence on children is already on the list of crimes that disqualify incarcerated persons from earning early release credits,” Mr. Flora said in a statement earlier this month. “However, the possession of illicit material involving our kids,” meaning (child pornography) is not on that list.”

In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 57, which permits inmates convicted of what are considered nonviolent offenses to become eligible for parole sooner.

Besides AB 1898, another Republican lawmaker recently introduced a state constitutional amendment with a similar goal.

Assemblyman Juan Alanis, who also represents parts of the San Joaquin Valley, introduced ACA 15 in January, aiming to amend Prop. 57 by removing sex offenses from the list of nonviolent felony offenses eligible for early release.

In the statement, Mr. Flora said that his bill stemmed from his participation in a significant child sexual exploitation sting operation with the Sacramento County Sheriff.

“There were things that we saw, evidence we looked at, that will haunt me for a very long time,“ he said. ”As a father of two young daughters, it really made me want to do something to help.”

AB 1898 has been assigned to the Assembly Public Safety Committee and is awaiting a hearing, while ACA 15 is still awaiting assignment.

Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.
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