Bay Area lawmakers introduce bills to reform sentencing enhancements

February 10, 2021

On Tuesday, Berkeley-based State Sen. Nancy Skinner introduced Senate Bill 81, which would direct trial-court judges to avoid sentencing enhancements related to juvenile crimes, crimes that did not involve a loaded or operable firearm, prior convictions older than five years, and convictions seeded by mental-health issues or past victimization or childhood trauma. The bill also discourages enhancements in scenarios where a total prison sentence is already more than 20 years, and if a sentencing enhancement would result in a “disparate racial impact.”

Those provisions are taken directly from a report posted online Tuesday by the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code, which was commissioned by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year. Skinner is one of two legislative members on the committee.

“SB 81 sends a clear message to our courts: Sentence enhancements should be used judiciously, and only when the enhancement is necessary to protect the public,” Skinner said in a statement.

 

To read the full report, click here.