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LatinoJustice Secures Release of Wrongfully Imprisoned Arizona Man

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Release
January 6, 2022

 Press Contacts:
Sarai Bejarano | Manager of Traditional & Digital Media | [email protected] | 212-739-7581

LatinoJustice Secures Release of Wrongfully Imprisoned Arizona Man
Department of Corrections Will Revise Rule to Provide Relief to Others

ARIZONA —Today LatinoJustice’s client, Carlos Hernandez, was released from prison in Arizona as part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by LatinoJustice in September. Mr. Hernandez had been denied access to early release credits provided by a new state law, SB 1310. LatinoJustice had sued the Arizona Department of Corrections back in September of 2021, alleging that DOC regulations were excluding certain individuals from SB 1310 credit improperly.

The Arizona DOC and LatinoJustice released the following joint statement on the resolution of the case: “The Arizona Department of Corrections and LatinoJustice are pleased to announce they have resolved the litigation brought on behalf of Carlos Hernandez seeking early release credit pursuant to SB 1310. Mr. Hernandez was given access to early release credits and has been transferred to transitional housing. All those who qualify for SB 1310 in the future will continue to receive this early release credit.

LatinoJustice is currently reviewing claims by other individuals who should have had access to SB 1310 credits but were denied them, and expects that others will be granted release credits once the new regulation is issued.

SB 1310 is a 2019 law that allows some people convicted of drug possession to receive release credits unless they have been previously convicted of certain enumerated offenses. The DOC rule being changed had included more crimes in the list of disqualifying offenses than the law provided.

LatinoJustice Senior Counsel Andrew Case called on the state legislature to pass broader earlier release legislation, stating ,“The real issue here is that the legislature passed a limited and overly complicated early release law. The Arizona Legislature should pass comprehensive early release, available to all incarcerated people without regard to current or past conviction—a simpler, broader, early release program would improve public safety, avoid litigation, and save the department money.”
 

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About LatinoJustice
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For more information about LatinoJustice, visit www.latinojustice.org