More So-Called “Non-Violent Second-Strikers” Get Early Prison Release

Many who are released quickly reoffend

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) – October 19, 2016 – The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office regularly publishes a list of convicted criminals who have been granted early release from prison by the State of California.

Since the beginning of the program, 26 inmates with committing felony offenses from Yolo County have been released early, despite the opposition of the Yolo County District Attorney. Of those 26 already released, six have been rearrested for crimes such as: domestic violence, drug possession and resisting arrest.

Across California, over 2,900 convicted felons have been released from prison early under the program.

The history of the early release program is as follows: Beginning in 2015, in an effort to reduce prison overcrowding, a number of measures were put into place by the State of California which have resulted in early prison releases, including early parole consideration for individuals characterized as "non-violent second-strikers." To qualify, inmates must not currently be serving a sentence for a crime which is legally categorized as a “violent felony” and must not be required to register as sex offenders.

Once a "non-violent second-striker" has served only 50 percent of their sentence, or if they are within 12 months of having served 50 percent of their actual sentence, they are eligible for parole consideration under the program. A prison official conducts an administrative review of each eligible prisoner. No oral testimony from victims or witnesses is taken during the paper-review process and no actual hearing is conducted. Instead, the prison official merely notifies district attorneys and any victims that they may submit a written statement for consideration. If the prison official determines that the inmate would not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety based on criteria included in their criminal history, prison behavior, rehabilitation efforts, and written statements, they are released.

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office takes an active role in evaluating these cases and writes letters opposing early prison release to the Board of Parole Hearings. Many of these offenders have violent and lengthy criminal histories.

Since our last report, the following Yolo County convicted criminals have been approved for early prison release by the State of California:

Eric Reed - Reed was most recently sent to prison after he was convicted of commercial burglary. He had previously been convicted of 9 felony offenses, including a “Strike” offense for burglary of an inhabited dwelling. His other convictions included offenses such as evading arrest with reckless disregard for life, burglary, auto theft and drug offenses. He previously violated parole 15 times.

Thomas Moss - Moss has a prior felony conviction for the “Strike” offense of arson. In addition, he has been previously convicted of assault with deadly weapon along with an enhancement for committing a crime while on bail or own recognizance, using another’s ID to obtain credit and a drug offense. He was sent to prison in the most recent case for grand theft after he stole a $1,200 bicycle and fled from the police.

David Culverwell - Culverwell has a lengthy criminal history that includes 4 felony convictions, including a “Strike” offense for attempted burglary of an inhabited dwelling. In that case, he and an accomplice went to the victim’s home at 2:55 A.M. to rob him. Mr. Culverwell unscrewed the light bulb on the victim’s porch and knocked on the front door. The victim’s wife answered, but refused to open a security door and let the men inside the home. Mr. Culverwell later admitted that he had a knife with him at the time. Culverwell has additional convictions for auto theft and a drug offense. In his most recent felony conviction, he was convicted of commercial burglary and sentenced to four years in prison, which he began serving on December 22, 2014.

At the request of members of the public, the Yolo County District Attorney has recently sought to expand the information being provided on its website by obtaining and publishing the latest prison “mug-shot” of the inmates who are being released early. Unfortunately, officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation have, thus far, refused to provide the requested photos for this purpose.

According to Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig: "We remain dedicated to analyzing each case and will oppose the release of inmates when appropriate. Most citizens have no idea that serious criminals are being released from prison early under these new state programs. Many of these individuals have very violent criminal histories and continue to pose a danger to our communities. Our
website link is designed to inform the public and improve the transparency of the state’s early release decisions.”

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation publishes the results of all of its early release decisions on its website at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/BOPH/pshResults.html

To view Yolo County’s website and the opposition letters that we have submitted in our attempts to prevent early releases of convicted prisoners, go to: https://yoloda.org/early-prison-releases/

EarlyRelease (1000x341)

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