How CA Case Plays Out Under Inmate Shift: From 21 Years to 2.5


In Sacramento, the face of realignment from prison to jail belongs to a 64-year-old heroin addict, says the Sacramento Bee. He is a Vietnam War combat veteran, a disabled diabetic with a bad liver and bad kidneys. He has a wife, two grown kids and a criminal record that goes back to the early Nixon administration. Herbert Hale Sr. appeared in court Wednesday convicted on a drug charge.

The probation department urged a 21-year state prison sentence. Judge Ben Davidian said that under the state’s new realignment plan for lower-level inmates, Hale gets a jail term from which he’ll likely be free in 2 1/2 years. The case demonstrates the law’s potential to change not only where lower-level inmates serve time, but how the location figures to reduce the time they actually serve. Prosecutor Steve Grippi said, “Frankly, we were being realistic about how much time a person can [ ] serve in a county jail facility,” Grippi said. “Whether we call it a prison or a jail, it’s still the same facility.”

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