Local group supporting inmates' early release under Prop 36

Local group supporting inmates' early release under Prop 36 »Play Video
California prisoners walk along the fence line at North Kern State Prison in Delano. (File photo)
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Pete Marin Jr. was 33 years old when he was convicted under California's "three-strikes law." His third strike was for petty theft, and that sent him away with a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

"There's that saying that says that you don't know what you have until you lose it," said Marin.

But under the newly enacted Proposition 36, Marin's case qualified to be reviewed and be resentenced. A judge ruled Marin was eligible to be released for time served, and Marin gained freedom in December.

A local group has sprung up in Bakersfield called FACTS, Families Against California's Three Strikes law. The group is made up of families who have a family member or relative in prison sentenced under the original three-strikes law.

"All that we're asking is that the time fit the crime," said FACTS co-founder Mary Shadden.

The group hopes to get more cases heard in court on inmates who may qualify for resentencing under Prop 36. The group's efforts caught the attention of investigative reporter Michael Montgomery of San Francisco public radio station KQED and also with California Watch.

Montgomery was in Bakersfield, meeting with the FACTS group for an upcoming series on Prop 36 and its impact across California.

"What we're trying to do is look at Prop 36, the changes in the three-strikes law, and how that's playing out around the state," said Montgomery.