Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) is a process under which some released offenders are supervised by a local probation agency instead of the state parole system.
This process was created by the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 — signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown — which sought to help ease California’s chronic state prison overcrowding. AB 109 significantly changed sentencing and supervision protocols for certain convicted felons. In this respect, PRCS is a hybrid between parole and probation.
Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS), under which some released offenders are supervised by a local probation agency instead of the state parole system, was created by the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 (AB 109). Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, AB 109 sought to help ease California’s chronic state prison overcrowding by shifting incarceration of inmates convicted of non-violent and lower-level offenses to county jails instead of the state prison system.
California Governor Gerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 109 on April 5, 2011, which in part, created the PRCS process.
AB 109 significantly changed sentencing and supervision protocols for certain convicted felons. In this respect, PRCS is a hybrid between parole and probation. Contrary to what some may believe, PRCS does not shorten any sentence — it only modifies which agency is in charge of monitoring the offender after release.
What is PRCS?
Under AB 109, offenders convicted for certain non-serious, non-sexual, and nonviolent felonies can now be sentenced to a split sentence of incarceration in county jail followed by supervised release into the community. Instead of the more traditional parole structure where offenders report to state parole officers, offenders who receive release under PRCS report to county probation departments. The purpose of this change is to reduce repeat offenses (recidivism) and improve offender reentry and reintegration into society. By releasing these offenders into the community, they are provided greater access to a wide array of support programs such as vocational training, education, employment readiness, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and other necessary social services which promote a successful outcome.
Post Release Community Supervision eligibility
PRCS applies to all felons upon release, except if the offender was serving time for offenses described in 3451(b) PC such as:
- Any serious felony described in 1192.7(c) PC.
- A violent felony described in 667.5(c) PC.
- Any crime in which the individual is considered to be a high-risk sex offender (not all sex offenders are precluded from participation).
- Any crime in which the offender was sentenced under 667(e)(2)PC or 1170.12(c) (California’s Three Strikes Law).
- Any crime in which the offender is required to undergo mental treatment as a condition of his/her parole pursuant to 2960 PC.
Examples of crimes which bar an offender from receiving PCRS include:
- Murder/attempted murder/voluntary manslaughter, 187 PC
- Mayhem, 203 PC
- Rape, 261 PC and 262 PC
- Assault with intent to commit robbery or rape, 264.1 PC or 211 PC
- Arson, 451 PC
- Any offenses causing injuries resulting from exploding destructive devices, 12308-12310 PC
- Assault with a deadly weapon by an inmate, 4500 PC
- Assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, 241 PC
- First degree burglary, 459 PC
- Kidnapping, 207 PC
- Robbery/bank robbery, 211 PC
- Carjacking, 215 PC
- Participation in a criminal street gang, 186.22 PC
- Providing or offering heroin, cocaine, PCP, or methamphetamine to a minor, 11055 HS
- Any felony punishable by death or life imprisonment
Benefits of PRCS
Offenders who are eligible for Post Release Community Supervision have the potential for:
- A three-year cap on supervision.
- Early discharge eligibility after six months.
- Complete discharge after 12 months of successful supervision.
Individuals who violate the terms of PRCS are not returned to state prison to serve the remainder of their sentence, as is the case with regular parole. Instead, violators may be sentenced to up to six months in county jail. Additionally, PRCS violations are heard in local courts as opposed to the state parole board as was historically the case.
Image courtesy Neon Tommy