Senate Bill 1142, also known as “The Getting Home Safe Act,” would change how inmates are released from county jail.
Changes Proposed by Senate Bill 1142
First, sheriffs would release inmates between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. If inmates are not released during that time, they could remain in jail until normal business hours the next day.
Second, inmates could request transportation from jail up to 100 miles away.
Third, sheriffs would provide a safe place for inmates to wait for a ride. The place would have equipment to charge a cell phone and access to a free public telephone.
Fourth, sheriffs would provide a 3-day supply of medicine to anyone incarcerated for more than 30 days.
Fifth, inmates could request transportation from jail to a drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility.
Why do we need Senate Bill 1142
The late-night release of inmates is dangerous for inmates. It is also dangerous for the public health and safety of the community at large.
It is especially dangerous for women, including transgender women. Such women can be targets for physical abuse, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking.
Additionally, inmates with mental illness or substance addiction are unlikely to be able to access treatment services late at night.
In 2014, California passed legislation to allow county jails to voluntarily participate in a program to reduce the number of late-night releases. However, few jails changed their release policy. Instead, jails continue to regularly release inmates during late-night hours.
These release policies are cruel and fail to acknowledge lived trauma that inmates have experienced. This is particularly true of women who are involved in the criminal justice system.
The Legislature intends to ensure that people are released quickly from county jails. Further, inmates should be released under conditions that protect their health and maximize the likelihood of their success. Therefore, the legislature will impose statewide release standards for county jails to follow.