Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Kathleen Noone


The California prison system is currently in federal receivership because of overcrowding and failing to provide prisoners with sufficient medical care. The prison system is a mess, and the miniscule number of life inmates receiving parole each year is disheartening. In the California Supreme Court case In re Lawrence, the court took a step towards increasing the rate of parole for line inmates when it clarified that an inmate cannot be denied parole based solely on the severity of his or her commitment offense. Of course, a future court might go a step further and hold that the commitment offense should not be considered in a parole proceeding at all. Several commentators have called for this step to be taken. In this Note, I argue that In re Lawrence draws the appropriate line; consideration of the commitment offense is proper and should not be eliminated from the parole process.