Assemblyman, Roger Hernandez (D – West Covina), who was charged with a DUI last April, had introduced a new bill, AB 2127, at the end of February, which calls for expansion of the kinds of work a prisoner can do, including DUI offenders, to become eligible for early release from a county jail.
On Wednesday, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) urged the senate to reject this bill not because of Hernandez’s recent DUI arrest, but because they believe that this bill should “exclude” drunk drivers from having “early release options” altogether.
Basically, AB 2127 appears to decriminalize DUIs in the state of California and sends the wrong message to these offenders, along with jeopardizing the safety of pedestrians, motorists, and our freeways.
The California District Attorneys Association also opposes this bill because they feel that it allows DUI offenders a way to serve less time in custody for their irresponsible act.
The bill also calls for “work-release credits” to be applied to jail sentences for inmates taking life-skill classes, looking for employment or those who are given approval to return to their regular jobs, and a new option of manual labor jobs that are supervised by the county like cleaning up graffiti. This bill is not for any specific offenses, but in fact for any offense that end with a jail sentence for a period of time.
Hernandez commented about the bill stating that it would “serve as an incentive for people convicted of low-level misdemeanors to do their best to fully reintegrate into the general society by receiving release credit for working.”
It will be interesting to see if this bill is passed. While DUI offenders can be anyone, you often see this happen with people who are business socializing, but there are repeat offenders who will face a different set of charges and jail sentences, many of which we would not want driving on our local streets or freeways.
It is also true that facing the AB 109 Public Safety Realignment issue at the county jail level, this could be a way to incent these offenders to be model prisoners and get that early release that they otherwise would not have a chance at getting, and at the same time free up beds for offenders of more serious crimes.
What is your opinion of this bill and inmates earning work-release credits for early release from jail?