How Long Was Brock Turner In Prison? The Former Stanford Swimmer Is Being Released Early
Brock Turner will be released from prison on Friday, after having served just three months of his controversially lenient six-month sentence for sexual assault, according to CNN. The 21-year-old was convicted of three felony charges in June for assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at a campus party. Turner was in jail for a short amount of time, but state lawmakers are working to make sure the same leniency isn't bestowed on similar defendants in the future, so as to provide better justice for victims.
It's not altogether surprising that Turner was released early, since California prisons are notoriously overcrowded. The Associated Press reported that Santa Clara County Jail inmates regularly serve only half of their sentence, as long as they keep a clean disciplinary record during their incarceration. But the initial outrage over Turner stems from his sentence, which was a mere fraction of the 14 years maximum that he was facing at the outset of the trial. For many, including the anonymous victim, who released a 12-page statement detailing how hurt she was by the experience, the sentencing was an affirmation of the power of rape culture, even before Turner's jail time was cut in half.
It's unclear what's next for Turner, who withdrew from Stanford University and was banned by USA Swimming in the aftermath of the assault. He still has to serve three years of probation, meaning his options are pretty limited — the exact terms of Turner's probation have not been released to the public but could include monthly meetings with a probation officer, court mandated therapy or counseling, or community service. In addition, Turner had to register as a sex offender with the state, so he now has to follow stricter rules on what he do and where he can live.
The situation has inspired a change in California state law. State lawmakers unanimously approved a bill that will create mandatory minimums for assailants in cases in which the victim is unconscious or inebriated. "If we let a rapist off with probation and little jail time, we re-victimize the victim, we dissuade other victims from coming forward and we send a message that sexual assault of an incapacitated victim is just no big deal," Assemblyman Bill Dodd (D-Napa), said during floor debate, according to The Los Angeles Times. The bill has already been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, according to Vice, so it should either become law or get vetoed soon.
Turner might be being released after only three months, but his life isn't going to look anything like it did before this all occurred. The sentencing might have seemed too lenient to many, but real, positive change for victims is coming out of this experience.