Skinner’s parole reform bill passes public safety committee

State Sen. Nancy Skinner introduced SB 1064 last February.

A bill that would bar the use of uncorroborated information from confidential informants at parole hearings was approved by the state Senate Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1064, authored by East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner, would also prohibit prison employees from basing alleged violations by inmates based on unverified claims from confidential informants.

Often violations of prison rules form the basis for parole being denied to an inmate. In addition, the accused would be afforded the opportunity to question witnesses during a disciplinary hearing, under the proposed law. 

SB 1064 was approved by the Public Safety Committee, 6-1, its first steps in the legislative process. 

Skinner believes the practice is a violation of a prisoner’s due process, and in many cases the inmate is unaware that allegations have been made to their file.

“Allowing uncorroborated information from a confidential informant to influence a parole hearing is deeply unfair. California’s parole system needs to be modernized, and reforms that enhance rather than limit due process are a step in the right direction,” Skinner said, in a statement.