On December 15, 2021, the governor of California signed SB 81 into law to dismiss sentence enhancements in the interests of justice. This bill comes at the heel of widespread activism, drawing attention to the plight of convicts spending more time than necessary in jail or prison.
Studies show that sentence enhancements for long sentences do not deter crime. The number of separate sentence enhancements that a person could theoretically face when charged with a crime is about 150. This ranges from add-ons for gang association, being on probation, or having a prior conviction. Sentence enhancements are particularly concerning if you face criminal charges that include time spent in jail or prison, meaning more time spent incarcerated if convicted.