A nonprofit is asking for help for 23 former Los Angeles County jail detainees who completed work and education programs but were never credited promised time off the sentences they eventually received. KeepYourWordCali says the detainees participated in the Education-Based Incarceration/Merit Program but did not receive time credits promised pursuant to § 4019.4 of the California Penal Code on sentences they are now serving in various state prisons.
The nonprofit published letters the 23 wrote, encouraging the public to contact the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) or the county District Attorney to request resentencing for the men: Andrew Kramer, Adrian Berumen, Anthony Gandy, Jarrod Williams, Glenn Wagner, James Duff, Shawn Rankin, Malik Ali, Milan Brass, Trevor Lawson, Francisco Guzman, Willie Norton, Daniel Yacobi, Rahsaan Fitzgerald, Louis Jimenez, Ney Pettus, James Rojas, Tigran Nazariants, Jeanmax Darbouze, Donivan Diaz, Eric Arroyo, Clayton R. Addleman and Keith Carter.
The educational programs they participated in were conceived by disgraced former Sheriff Lee Baca, and they included the Education-Based Incarceration (EBI) Program and the Maximizing Education Reaching Individual Transformation (MERIT) progression.
Berumen, a member of the group who became a successful MERIT Master during nine-plus years of pre-trial detention at the jail, was a volunteer mental health assistant while held at Twin Towers Correctional Facility, dealing with mentally ill detainees, many with schizophrenia. In his letter written from the Calipatria State Prison in December 2022, the now-28-year-old reveals he has 25 certificates from the courses he took to become a MERIT Master, but he has yet to receive any credits to reduce his sentence. His first parole date is February 2032.
Meanwhile the program he worked in has been so successful that the county Board of Supervisors voted to expand it on June 27, 2023, asking the sheriff’s department to continue to recruit volunteers like Berumen.
Sources: KABC, LAist
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