"The goal is to increase incentives for the incarcerated population to practice good behavior and follow the rules while serving their time and participate in rehabilitative and educational programs, which will lead to safer prisons," Dana Simas, a state Office of Administrative Law spokeswoman, announced in a statement trying to justify the mass release of prisoners in the Golden State.
"Additionally, these changes would help to reduce the prison population by allowing incarcerated persons to earn their way home sooner," she continued.
These “incentives” are a part of an attempt to provide inmates with “good time credits” to accelerate their release.
Of those who are set to be released, almost 20,000 are serving life sentences. Another 10,000 inmates were convicted for severe nonviolent offenses who have served half of their initial sentence.
Criminal Justice Legal Foundation Legal Director Kent Scheidegger crashed the state for freeing the prisoners, claiming that the plan was "just a giveaway" and not "useful" in determining whether an inmate should or should not be freed.
“You don't have to be good to get good time credits. People who lose good time credits for misconduct get them back, they don't stay gone,” he explained to NBC News. "They could be a useful device for managing the population if they had more teeth in them. But they don’t. They're, in reality, just a giveaway."
He further said inmates should not be released sooner just because they got the credits.
Simas said the department was given authority through the rulemaking process. The emergency regulations take effect Saturday, yet the department has to submit permanent regulations next year, which will then be considered with a public hearing and opportunity for public comment.
Many Republican lawmakers in the state have rejected the move and scrutinized Gov. Gavin Newsom for acting “on his own authority, instead of the will of the people.”
"This is what I call Newsom’s time off for bad behavior. He's putting us all at greater risk, and there seems to be no end to the degree to which he wants to do that," Republican state Sen. Jim Nielsen announced.
"He's doing it on his own authority, instead of the will of the people through their elected representatives or directly through their own votes," Nielsen said.
Democrats in the state, though, have called for the state to release even more convicted criminals and to close the depreciated detention facilities.