Prior to the passage of Assembly Bill 109 in 2011, convicted felons released from prison were placed on parole. This meant that a released felon would be required to check in with a parole officer who could monitor their adherence to the terms of their release from prison.
However, AB 109 formed a new type of condition for certain felons: Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS). Essentially, PRCS means that the local county takes on the responsibility of supervising the released felon rather than the state.
California Penal Code § 3455 covers this supervisory condition and determines how it can be revoked or adjusted.
General Information About the PRCS Program
California uses PRCS as a program to supervise felons who are released from prison. The program is handled by a country supervision agency, not the CA court system. Individuals can remain in the PRCS program for up to three years.
PRCS programs monitor an individual’s progress as they reintegrate into society. Individuals do not enter the PRCS program to shorten their prison time. Instead, this program is started after the individual’s release from prison.
An individual must remain in the program for at least six months. However, they are often close to release before the end of their first year. Early release is usually only available if individuals adhere to all the rules of the program for the first year.
When Post-Release Community Supervision Is Required
Almost every felon who is released from prison after serving their court-ordered time will be subject to PRCS. The only exceptions are high-level felonies such as violent crimes and sexual offenses.
The law specifically denotes that felons who were convicted of serious and violent crimes, sexual crimes, and crimes resulting in life in prison are under the supervision of the state rather than local communities. This includes crimes like:
- Lewd acts with a minor
PRCS Does Not Reduce Prison Sentences
It is important to note that Post-Release Community Supervision is not a mechanism for reducing a convicted felon’s time in prison. Instead, it is a period of supervision after the felon has already served their full sentence.
PRCS is not a form of probation. Unlike PRCS, probation is part of the sentencing a felon receives from the court. It’s an alternative sentence whereby the felon does not have to serve prison time. Instead, PRCS goes into effect after the felon’s sentence has been completed.
Differences Between Parole and Post-Release Community Supervision
Parole is a similar supervisory system that used to apply to all felons in California. The term “parole” refers to instances in which the state monitors felons after their release from prison. Now, lower-level felons are supervised by the county in which they reside through PRCS.
Essentially, the difference between parole and Post-Release Community Supervision is the identity of the government agency tasked with monitoring the released felon.
California Penal Code 3455 and Its Requirements
California Penal Code § 3455 describes what happens when the county or its officers believe that a felon has broken the terms of their supervisory agreement. A police officer can arrest the person without a warrant, and then the county must draft a petition to the court system for the revocation of the felon’s supervisory arrangement.
Information the County Must Include In Its Petition
When creating a petition to restructure or revoke a felon’s supervisory arrangement, the county must provide all the following details. The Judicial Council is also required to assist the county board in providing this information.
- The terms and conditions of the felon’s initial supervision
- The felon’s history and background information
- Information on the alleged violation of the supervisory arrangement
- Any and all recommendations to the court
- Any and all pertinent information to the petition
After the court receives this petition, it must schedule and hold a hearing on the matter within a “reasonable” amount of time. Additionally, the felon may be held in custody if they are considered a public threat or if justice demands they be held in custody. Reasons for holding the felon in custody must be supported by a preponderance of the evidence.
Violations of the PRCS Program in California
Individuals must obey certain regulations while in a PRCS program in California. For example, individuals could be ordered to stay in the same county or to attend certain treatment programs. Failure to adhere to these regulations can result in an arrest.
The court can hold a revocation hearing if someone is accused of violating PRCS regulations. PC 3455 deals with the regulations governing this hearing. Individuals are often kept in custody until their hearing, but not always.
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help with a PRCS revocation hearing. Your lawyer can work to show that you did not violate your PRCS program. In some cases, the hearing may conclude that you did not violate the regulations of the program. This allows you to continue on with the PRCS program.
What the Court May Decide When Considering a Petition
When hearing the arguments regarding a felon’s alleged violation, the trial court can reach several different conclusions. According to the law, there are three options which may be used:
- The court amends or adjusts the felon’s existing PRSC, adding conditions
- The court revokes the felon’s PRSC and sends the felon to county jail for up to 180 days
- The court refers the felon to a reentry court
A reentry court offers rehabilitation for felons who need additional help entering into society. If the trial court believes that the felon’s violation is the result of an addiction or some other issue related to them being unable to meld back into society, a reentry program may be the best way of alleviating that issue.
Get Help from a California Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are a convicted felon who has been accused of violating your Post-Release Community Supervision under PC 3455, you still have rights. Get in touch with the Simmrin Law Group to learn more about your legal options and how you can fight against the accusations. To schedule a FREE consultation, visit our contact page.