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3455 PC Post Release Community Supervision in California

The California statute that instructs courts how to treat ex-prisoners who violate the terms of their Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) is Penal Code 3455.  If they violate the law again, the code section states that the court may modify or revoke the PRCS or refer the individual to reentry court.

PRCS is a supervisory program in which a county supervision agency looks after felons after their release from California state prison. Supervision is three years or less.  Felons who are leaving prison are subject to PRCS, unless they committed certain serious or violent offenses such as murder, mayhem or rape.

Probation and Parole vs. PRCS

Community supervision and probation are two different things. Felony probation is a form of sentencing and simply serves as an alternative to placing a convicted felon in prison.

PRCS is a different program than parole. Before 2011, all felons released from prison went on parole and supervised by the state. In 2011, Assembly Bill 109 was enacted.  It is also referred to as “realignment.”  This statute created community supervision. According to Assembly Bill 109, non-violent and non-serious offenders and non-sex offenders are now supervised by the community, as opposed to the state.  Parole still exists after AB 109, but it is now preserved for those felons that have committed serious or violent felonies, or certain sex offenses, such as sodomy.

The California criminal defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group will explain the following in this article:

  1. Post Release Community Supervision: Explained
  2. What requirements are connected to 3455 PC?
  3. What’s the difference between PRCS and probation?
  4. What’s the difference between community supervision and parole?

1. Post Release Community Supervision: Explained

Certain convicted felons are placed on PRCS after being released from California State Prison.  While they’re under supervision, they are required to adhere to various relevant terms of condition. Common terms include going into a rehabilitation program and submitting to electronic monitoring.

All felons leaving state prisons get placed on community supervision unless they were convicted of any of the crimes below:

  • a serious felony, 
  • a violent felony, 
  • a sex offense in which the felon is deemed high risk, or
  • a criminal offense for which the offender is serving a term of life in prison.

Note that PRCS cannot be used to shorten a convict’s prison term.  What it does is place a prisoner on supervision by a supervising county agency, and does so after he or she completes his or her imposed period of incarceration.

During supervision, offenders are required to complete up to three years of community supervision.  They become eligible for discharge from supervision after six months, and they can potentially end supervision after 12 months if they have not violated any of the conditions.

2. What requirements are connected to 3455 PC?

When a police officer has probable cause to believe a person violated the conditions of his or her community supervision, the officer can seek the person’s arrest without a warrant. The county could then petition the court to revoke PRCS.

If the court agrees, the county must include in its petition a written report that includes:

  1. any information critical to the petition,
  2. relevant terms and conditions of the post-release supervision,
  3. the circumstances of the supposed violation,
  4. the history and background of the accused, and
  5. any recommendations to the hearing officer.

It is worth noting that the Judicial Council is required to adopt certain forms and rules of court to assist a county board of supervisors in providing this information.

3455 PC requires the court to hold a revocation hearing, or a court hearing, within a “reasonable time” after the revocation petition.8

If the officer presiding over the revocation hearing finds that the person violated PRCS, the court may either:

  1. keep the person on PRCS, perhaps with added conditions,
  2. revoke the PRCS and remand the accused to county jail for up to 180 days, or
  3. refer the accused to a reentry court.  Reentry court offers rehabilitative programs desigined to help offenders reenter society.

Individuals have the option of waiving their right to a PRCS hearing. Some prefer to admit their violation and accept whatever conditions the county requested in the petition.

It is not the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), but the trial court, that has the authority to determine who is subject to PRCS.

3. What’s the difference between PRCS and probation?

Community supervision and probation are different.  PRCS is a supervisory period where a county agency is responsible for monitoring a felon after his or her release from prison.  Felony probation, or formal probation, is part of a felon’s sentencing.  It provides an alternative to putting a convicted felon in state prison.

Probation gives convicted felons an opportunity to serve all or part of their sentence out of custody but under the supervision of a probation officer.

Not all defendants qualify for probation. A judge determines eligibility by considering a variety of factors, including the defendant’s criminal history, and the severity of the offenses.

A probation term is between three and five years. During this timeframe, the probationer must adhere to “conditions of probation, such as consistently reporting to a probation officer (P.O.) and paying victim restitution.

If the probationer violates these conditions, then a judge could warn the individual and reinstate the same probation terms, modify the terms to include harsher conditions, or revoke it and send the person to county jail or state prison.

4. What’s the difference between community supervision and parole?

PRCS is similar to parole in that they are both ways to supervise ex-prisoners. In  PRCS, persons are under community supervision, while felons on parole are supervised on the state level.

Assembly Bill 109 (AB 109): Realignment

In 2011, California voters passed Assembly Bill 109 (AB 109), known as “realignment.”

Prior to this statute, all felons released from prison were placed on parole. Now, those who have committed non-serious, nonviolent felonies are subject to PRCS and are supervised within his or her community. 

Parole is for those who have committed serious or violent felonies, are high-risk sex offenders, or are mentally disordered. 

For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a highly skilled criminal defense attorney, we invite you to reach out to us at Spodek Law Group.


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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

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