Bill to Repeal Sentencing Enhancements for Prior Drug Convictions Passes Its First Test

Zaineb Mohammed, Zaineb@ellabakercenter.org or 510-285-8236

Sacramento, CA – Today, a bill authored by Senator Holly Mitchell to repeal ineffective sentencing enhancements for prior drug convictions passed the California Senate Public Safety Committee.

“Piling extra years onto jail sentences for repeat offenders of non-violent crimes overcrowds our prisons, sucks money out of taxpayers’ pockets and makes punishing a greater priority than preventing crime,” said Senator Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), whose district includes much of South Los Angeles. “It doesn’t work. Why continue to waste lives and money on a failed policy?”

Currently, someone convicted for drug sale, possession for sale, or similar offenses can receive an additional three years for every prior conviction for a similar drug offense. For example, a person facing two to four years for possessing drugs for sale could have an extra six years added to their sentence if they have two prior convictions. Senate Bill 966 would address the unjust and extreme sentences that have resulted in persons suffering addiction to be sentenced to over 10 years in county jail.

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