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Heidi Rummel, co-director of the Post-Conviction Justice Project and professor at USC Gould School of Law, discussed California’s prison reform efforts Sept. 30 on KPCC’s “Air Talk” with guest host Kyle Stokes and Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.

Heidi Rummel, PCJP Co-Director

Rummel talked about criminal sentencing laws in the state, starting with an overview of the many changes in the past decade. 

“I think one thing we often lose sight of is that many of those changes are measured, and focused on public safety,” she said. “Either the court is looking at the risk to public safety before the person is resentenced, for example, in the three strikes ballot initiative, or people are being directed through the California lifer parole process where the ultimate determination by the parole board is public safety (whether the person poses an unreasonable risk or current danger to society),” she said.

Rummel was able to share her opinions on California’s recent legislation that gives way to change in the state’s ability to deter crime through the court’s systems. 

“Punishment isn’t really certain until you’re in court, the DA has decided what charges to file, and the DA has tremendous discretion in whether someone gets a ten-year sentence or a hundred to life-year sentence given the sentencing laws that have passed recently,” Rummel said. 

To listen to the interview, visit the link below: