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Impact of state's new '3 Strikes' law varies by county

  • In this photo taken Friday March 15, 2013 and provided by Jessica Spencer, Dale Gaines is shown with his sister Shirley Gaines after he was released from the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility in Santa Rosa, Calif. Gaines, a twice-convicted burglar was destined to spend the rest of his life in prison after he was caught with computer equipment stolen from the American Cancer Society. Then California voters in November passed Proposition 36, which mandated the early release of thousands of lifers like Gaines. On Friday Gaines was set free over the objection of the district attorney who still viewed the mentally retarded and physically disabled 55-year-old a threat to society. (AP Photo/Jessica Spencer)

SAN FRANCISCO — Majorities in every California county voted last fall to scale back the state's Three Strikes law so thousands of inmates serving life sentences for relatively minor third offenses would have the chance to be set free.

Five months later, there is no such unanimity among counties when it comes to carrying out the voters' wishes.

Whether a third-strike felon eventually will gain freedom varies greatly depending on the county that sent him away, according to an Associated Press analysis of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data.

In San Bernardino County, which has the second highest number of eligible inmates, 33 percent of the 291 Three Strikes inmates have been granted release under Proposition 36. But in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, just 6 percent of the nearly 1,300 eligible inmates have had their sentences reduced so far.

Statewide, 16 percent of 2,847 eligible inmates have been resentenced.


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