It doesn’t matter if we are elected officials or citizens we all must agree that something needs to be done with the criminal justice system here in the United States (U.S.). The number of incarcerated individuals continues to climb and we are becoming numb to its effect. We continue to operate with the knowledge that the U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in the world. We know that our recidivism rates are too high, and that we police our racial/ethnic minority communities too much and too often with tragic results. We know our fellow citizens, mainly people of color, living in those communities continue to suffer from higher rates of crime and police violence.
We must conclude that the U.S. is addicted to over policing, prosecution, and imprisonment; and it’s a habit that it just cannot break. In order to help the U.S. break this habits, much like an addict is tapered off of dependence with Medicated Assist Treatment (MAT) services; we must employ Meaningful Alternative Treatment (MAT) Programs.
LARRP is dedicated to creating MAT programs because we understand that in spite of having lowest crime rates in 50 years (even considering the recent COVID-era surge) we still see conditions over policing, prosecution, and imprisonment prevailing throughout the U.S.
Too often, having a conviction history creates a permanent barrier to employment, housing and economic security for individuals and their families. LARRP is committed to changing that.
Through our issues committees work alongside our network members, partners and affiliates to change laws so that people are treated more fairly and equitably, and they truly have the opportunity to be successful in our communities. Recent efforts include:
- Housing Solutions – (AB 71) We are proud to have been part of the effort to eliminate discrimination in the City and County of Los Angeles since 2011 and we continue to work with our allies to reduce more barriers for returning citizens. No one should be forced into homelessness or put their family’s housing stability at risk simply because they have a record. This bill will conform the state tax codeto federal tax law to close corporate tax loopholes and restore historic corporate tax cuts. The estimated 2.4 billion in new funds will go to local governments so they can invest in housing solutions.
- Leaving Prison / Jail with proper ID – AB717 will task the California State DMV and CaliforniaDepartment of Corrections and Rehabilitation with assisting the incarcerated population with acquiring the necessary documents for, and support to enable, the procurement of a state issued identification card or drivers license, retroactive record expungement for most Californians with a misdemeanor of felony conviction, so long as they have served their sentence and completed two additional years without another felony conviction.
- Fair Employment – We have been actively involved in efforts for several years to remove conviction history questions from job applications for all employers at the local, state and federal level.
Reentry Providers Association – We are proud to be working closely with Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ, and other members reentry and faith community to shape an effort that created the Statewide Reentry Providers Association in 2021, and ensure that reentry is a priority for our state.
- Voting rights – We believe if you live in a community you should be able to vote. We actively supported legislation so that people receive voter information when releasing from state prison and we support efforts that expand the right to vote for people with a criminal history.
- LEADERS Academy – Another top priority for LARRP going forward is continue to amplify the voices of our returning citizens through our LEADERS Academy.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we move forward together to create meaningful alternative programs and supports for our returning citizens.
Onward and Upward Together