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California Eases Mandatory Sentences, Restricts Body Cameras

SACRAMENTO (AP) — California will soon end some mandatory sentences, make it easier to expunge old criminal records, bar charging inmates for medical care and ban police from using facial recognition software on body cameras.

Freshman Gov. Gavin Newsom said late Tuesday that he signed more than two dozen criminal justice bills into law as the state continues its march away from get-tough measures that once clogged California prisons and led to federal intervention.

Among the measures are two that remove mandatory sentences. One ends an automatic one-year enhancement added to current sentences for each prior felony jail or prison term. The other ends mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes, leaving the sentences to judges’ discretion.

Another bill makes California the first state to bar health and dental co-pays for inmates.

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