NEWS Archives 2020-2021
California criminal justice panel eyes ‘three strikes’ law changes in 2022
LA Times, By Hannah Wiley, December 31, 2021
SACRAMENTO — For more than a year, a seven-person California commission has been quietly spearheading a massive effort to overhaul the thicket of criminal laws that make up the state penal code.
Its ideas for 2022 are ambitious, including an eventual end to the state’s controversial “three strikes” law and changes to lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole.
The Biggest Crop in Prison Gardens: Hope
The Crime Report, December 21,2021, By Eva Herscowitz
Jamala Taylor didn’t grow up a gardener. “Inner cities have more liquor stores than trees,” he quips. So there is some irony in the fact that his introduction to gardening came in a place that few would associate with greenery: California State Prison in Los Angeles County.
How Do We Begin Again?
Zócalo Public Square, December 7, 2021
Live from the ASU California Center: Artist and co-founder/executive director of Homeboy Art Academy Fabian Debora, TransLatin@ Coalition president and CEO Bamby Salcedo, and UCLA distinguished professor and psychology department chair Annette L. Stanton visit Zócalo
College-in-prison program found to reduce recidivism significantly
Crime And Justice Research Alliance News Release 7-Dec-2021
A new study sought to determine the effects of a college-in-prison program, the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). The study found a large and significant reduction in recidivism rates across racial groups among those who participated in the program. It also found that participants with higher levels of participation had even lower rates of recidivism. In light of their findings, the authors offer several policy recommendations in support of college-in-prison programs.
District Attorney Gascón Announces the Launch of Pre-Filing Diversion Program for Youth
November 17, 2021
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón today announced the launch of a victim-centered, pre-filing diversion program for youth.
“This program will help repair the immense harm that criminal behavior inflicts on our community by giving crime victims the opportunity to actively participate in the restorative justice process,” District Attorney Gascón said.
“While victims cannot generally attend the juvenile court process, through restorative justice, we can give crime victims a chance to be a meaningful part of the process to determine appropriate restitution and resolution,” said Jessica Ellis, executive director of Centinela Youth Services and the Everychild Restorative Justice Center.
Survivors Choose Healing and Restoration
Aspen Institute Podcast Shades of Freedom, Nov. 11, 2021, hosted by hosted by Dr. Douglas E. Wood
When offered the choice, violence survivors will choose restorative justice over prison time for those responsible. In the case of the nonprofit Common Justice, 90% of survivors of violent crimes agree to meet with the responsible party, and allow alternative punishments to time in prison.
New California group forms to aid inmates’ return to society
AP By Don Thompson, October 28, 2021
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The most populous U.S. state not surprisingly has the most people being released from its prisons and jails. And now it has what organizers said Thursday is the nation’s first statewide coordinated effort to help them reintegrate back into the community.
The newly formed Re-Entry Providers Association of California includes some of the state’s largest reentry service providers who plan to jointly lobby state and local government officials on behalf of former prisoners.
This Is What Happened When a Kentucky County Closed Its Jail
The Vera Institute of Justice, by Jack Norton, October 28, 2021
On April 20, 2021, the Lewis County Fiscal Court—the county’s governing body—met in Vanceburg, Kentucky, and voted unanimously to close the Lewis County Detention Center, the county jail.
Claudette Colvin was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Now she's fighting to get her record expunged
LA County votes to ramp up services for LGBTQ+ jail population
Los Angeles daily News, By Elizabeth Marcellino. October 19, 2021
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the motion's lead author, said the proposal also addresses a concern that too many women — including those who are pregnant or elderly — are being needlessly jailed.
Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
NY Times Opinion, By Ben Austen and Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Oct. 23, 2021
In 2018, at a maximum-security prison an hour outside of Chicago, a debate team gathered on a stage to argue the merits of reinstating parole in Illinois. Under current law — Illinois abolished discretionary parole in 1978 for all future offenders — none of the 14 members of the Stateville Correctional Center debate team would ever get to appear before a parole board.
Joel Castón Is the First Elected Representative for an Incarcerated Population
Vice News, Oct 18, 2021
One of Washington, D.C.’s newest public servants has unique circumstances. Joel Castón has been incarcerated for nearly 27 years. Alzo Slade spent time with him to hear about his historic election and how he’s empowering his constituents, most of whom also live in the jail.
Reforming California’s juvenile justice system proving difficult
Betty Márquez Rosales, October 7, 2021
How a Black lawmaker from L.A. won a ‘mammoth fight’ to oust bad cops
LA Times, By Anita Chabria Oct. 1, 2021
SACRAMENTO — In 2019, Fouzia Almarou was speaking at a police reform rally at Rowley Park in Gardena when a man she didn’t know made her a promise she didn’t quite trust.
Gardena police had shot Almarou’s son, Kenneth Ross Jr., at the park a year earlier, and she was marking the one-year “angel-versary” of his death.
State Sen. Steven Bradford, who grew up in the neighborhood as part of the first Black family on his block, told the mourning mom that he was going to change California law in the name of her lost son. He would make sure that officers with questionable pasts couldn’t jump from one job to the next to avoid accountability.
Is the Window for System Change Closing?
The Crime Report, By Jamila Hodge, September 30, 2021
Rise in California homicides echoes the nation, but state fares better in violent crime, FBI stats show
La Times, By Richard Winton, Sept. 27, 2021
California’s 31% jump in homicides in 2020 reflected a national trend that saw the largest one-year increase since the FBI began collecting numbers in the 1960s, the bureau said Monday.
L.A. County D.A. to dismiss 60,000 past marijuana convictions
LA Times By James Queally, Sept. 27, 2021
The nation’s largest prosecutor’s office is moving to dismiss roughly 60,000 marijuana convictions, the latest step to undo what some reform advocates consider the damage caused by narcotics enforcement carried out before Californians voted to legalize marijuana, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón announced Monday.
White House Weighs Clemency to Keep Some Drug Offenders Confined at Home
NYTimes By Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Charlie Savage, Aug. 30, 2021
Biden officials are exploring what should be done with inmates in home confinement whenever the pandemic emergency ends.
Opinion: We need to receive the formerly incarcerated re-entering our community with hope and love
Long Beach Post for "Voices" by Jose Osuna, August 2021
Important opinion piece by LARRP Steering Committee member Jose Osuna
Here’s how Democrats, Republicans and others say you should vote in the California recall
By Madalyn Amato
Aug. 19, 2021
How you vote is up to you, but here’s what your vote will mean and what various political parties, newspapers and others are saying.
Want to Reduce Crime? Start with Funding Our Communities | Opinion
Newsweek, Gina Clayton-Johnson And Thea Sebastian , Attorneys, 7/29/21
Opinion piece by former LARRP consultant in the early days!
Hear Us: California Is Trailblazing the Path to Debt-Free Justice. Other States Should Follow.
Next City, OP-ED, July 29, 2021 by Jhumpa Bhattacharya & Stephanie Campos-Bui & Brandon Greene
Abolishing criminal fees and writing off current debt is the only systemic, permanent solution to this form of racialized wealth extraction, and it is a solution our communities want and deserve.
Governor Selects Contra Costa DA's Office For Resentencing Pilot
Patch Martinez, CA by Maggie Fusek, Jul 20, 2021
"The strain on the state prison and criminal justice system is immense from these failed policies of our past," DA Diana Becton said.
Participating counties will develop protocols for processing resentencing applications from individuals serving custody within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The state has appropriated $18 million across nine counties to fund the three-year-long pilot. In addition to Contra Costa, the participating counties are Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Riverside, San Diego, Yolo, Merced and Humboldt.
Read the For the People Press Release for more details
LAPD chief stands with embattled D.A. George Gascón as others attack, try to recall him
LAT imes, By Kevin Rector , July 2, 2021
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón stood side-by-side at a joint news conference this week to discuss a crime initiative first made public months ago.
The men spoke of Gascón’s plan to dispatch prosecutors and investigators from the D.A.'s office into city neighborhoods hit hard by L.A.'s surge in violent crime, where they will work alongside LAPD officers, violence intervention workers and others in an effort to prevent shootings and other violent crimes before they happen.
Opinion: Progressive DA’s shake up tough-on-crime status quo
Orange County Register, By Steven Greenhut, June 25, 2021
SACRAMENTO – One need only look back at decades of news reports about the behavior of various California district attorneys and attorneys general to come to a sobering conclusion. Most people will shrug at almost anything from these powerful “top cops” – ranging from coddling misbehaving cops to seeking unjust sentences to wasting outrageous amounts of tax dollars.
Now, finally, some people have reached their limits.
LA County Supervisors vote 4-1 to close Men’s Central Jail
Los Angeles Daily News By Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service, June 22, 2021
Supervisor Hilda Solis said it was time to stop studying the issue and take action, co-authoring a motion finding that the decrepit downtown lockup must be demolished and that no replacement jail is needed.
Bill Bratton on Police Reform: ‘Let’s Do It Right This Time’
The Crime Report, By Joe Domanick, June 15, 2021
In a wide-ranging conversation with TCR, Bratton discusses the hard-won lessons from his own career about dealing with the political pressures that influence police strategy, the continuing legacy of racism in U.S. law enforcement, and why the police are the “central thread” in criminal justice reform.
“Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem,”
A New Film On The Damage Done By The Nation’s Lowest Level Criminal Charges
Witness LA, June 10, 2021 by Celeste Fremon
Bias in Conventional Hiring Tools: Understanding the Status Quo
Pymetrics by Sara Kassir, June 9, 2021
Column: The people who clean skid row find needles, rats, the occasional corpse — and deep gratitude
LA Times By Steve Lopez | Photography by Francine Orr, May 22, 2021
Women with Lived Experience in the Criminal Legal System Must Lead the Way
Vera Institute of Justice, by Kimberly Haven, Guest Writer, May 21, 2021
Women represent the fastest growing segment of our prison population and are incarcerated at twice the rate of men. This phenomenon has required advocates like me to seize opportunities to change perceptions and bring about authentic systemic change.
The Police Union Failed Miserably in Its Attempt to Beat Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner
The Nation, By John Nichols, May 19, 2021
Across the country, police unions are trying to defeat progressive reformers. Tuesday’s hotly contested election shows voters remain committed to changing an unjust system.
The California Prosecutors Who Want to Keep People Out of Jail
The Nation, By Sasha Abramsky, May 17, 2021
In the state that once pioneered the punitive Three Strikes policy, a coalition of recently elected district attorneys is pushing back against mass incarceration.
L.A. County Cutting Hidden Costs of Incarceration
LA Progressive, by Jeremy Loudenback, 5/18/2021
Following impassioned testimony from more than a dozen advocates for incarcerated people and their families, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to come up with a plan that would ban expensive collect calls and markups on commissary items in jails and juvenile detention facilities.
Supervisor Hilda Solis, who authored the motion, said the vote recognizes the impact incarceration has had on communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic, when more than a million calls were made from L.A. County jails — at a cost of $20 million to the families and friends of the incarcerated.
System-Impacted Youth Leaders Push For LA County To Fund “Youth Justice Reimagined”
WitnessLA, May 8, 2021 by Taylor Walker
A coalition of youth leaders impacted by Los Angeles County’s criminal legal system is calling on the county’s supervisors to prioritize — and fund — Youth Justice Reimagined, an initiative the supes approved last November, as part of its mission to build a community-focused “care first, jail last” justice system.
California is releasing 76K inmates early, including violent felons
KTLA5, Apr 30, 2021
With little notice, California on Saturday is increasing early release credits for 76,000 inmates, including violent and repeat felons, as it further trims the population of what once was the nation’s largest state correctional system.
DA George Gascón, Survivors Of Violent Crime, And The Meaning Of Justice
WitnessLA, April 27, 2021 by By Trino Jimenez
I am a father, brother, husband, and a man of deep faith. I am also a survivor of a violent crime. In 1986, someone brutally murdered my brother Julio. Although the man who killed Julio was caught and held accountable, 30 years later, I had still never once cried or truly grieved over my brother’s death. Julio’s death was simply too painful to even discuss.
Then, in 2017, the Re:Store Justice program allowed me to communicate directly with the man responsible. I learned about his traumatic and violent childhood, another side of the story. It did not justify the crime, but it helped me make sense of it. Our frank communication gave me more closure than anything the criminal justice system delivered.
JPMorgan expands program to get jobs for people with criminal background
BankDive, by Dan Ennis, April 27, 2021
JPMorgan announced it is investing an extra $12.5 million in community organizations in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Delaware and Nashville, Tennessee, that give training, financial health resources, legal advice and job leads to people with criminal pasts. That commitment builds on a $7 million pledge announced in 2019.
CA Bill To “Sunset” Old Convictions Approved By Senate Public Safety Committee, LA County Supes May Vote To Support The Bill
WitnessLA, April 16, 2021 by Taylor Walker
‘2020 was a tinderbox’: murders rose in US neighborhoods of color last year
The Guardian, by Weihua Li and Beth Schwartzapfel of the Marshall Project, 8 Apr, 2021
A strained social safety net, rising tensions and mistrust between police and communities of color played part, experts say.
Despite a statewide stay-at-home order, Los Angeles recorded 332 killings in 2020, a precipitous jump – 95 more lives lost to murder than the year before.
LA County could close Men’s Central Jail within 2 years, report says
Los Angeles Daily News, By Ryan Carter March 30, 2021
But the report notes concern that alternatives to incarceration are still evolving, and funding is not easy.
Not Built for Humans: Living and Working at Twin Towers Correctional Facility During COVID-19
KnockLA, by Eleanor Bray, March 28, 2021
Over a year into the pandemic, the most vulnerable population in Los Angeles County are still left to fend for themselves.
LA County Leaders Agree To Expand Community Care For People Declared Unfit To Stand Trial
Witness LA, March 25, 2021 by Taylor Walker
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to expand reentry programs that provide community-based treatment to people found incompetent to stand trial who would otherwise languish in LA’s jail system — the largest mental health facility in the country — while they wait for state hospital beds to become available.
What Do Victims Want? New California Justice Reforms Expose Divide Among Crime Survivors
KQED, by Marisa Lagos, March 19, 2021
Read more about this debate HERE
Former prosecutor announces bid to challenge first-term Orange County D.A.
LA Times, By Hannah Fry March 16, 2021
A former prosecutor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran said Tuesday that he will challenge Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer to become Orange County’s top prosecutor next year in a race that is poised to test the climate for justice reform in a county that has historically favored tough-on-crime policies.
No, crime survivors don’t want more prisons. They want a new safety movement
Washington Post Op-Ed, By Lenore Anderson and Robert Rooks, March 16, 2021
Thousands of California marijuana convictions officially reduced, others dismissed
By Greg Moran San Diego Union-Tribune, March 7, 2021
SAN DIEGO — With the stroke of a pen by a Superior Court judge in California, nearly 26,000 people with felony marijuana convictions on their records had them reduced to less onerous misdemeanor convictions last month.
Felony Murder, Explained
The Appeal, March 4, 2021 by Shobha L. Mahadev & Steven Drizin
...Put simply, the felony murder rule states that if a death occurs during the commission of any felony, the death can be charged as murder for all participants in the felony, despite the fact that the participants may have had no role in the actual killing or may not have intended or anticipated that a death would occur...
In La County Jails, Coronavirus Chaos Keeps People Locked Up Longer
The Intercept by Chris Gelardi, March 2 2021
Quarantine procedures at LA County jails have led likely thousands of people to miss court dates, and with that, opportunities for release.
Families of prisoners hospitalized with COVID-19 say they’re not notified until too late
LA Times, By Leila Miller, Feb. 28, 2021
Santos Ruiz, 41, said the state correctional system waited two weeks to tell him that his father, an inmate at San Quentin, had been hospitalized with COVID-19, and by that time it was unlikely his dad would recover.
Black Lives Matter-L.A. launches campaign against law enforcement unions
LA Times, By David Zahniser , Feb. 25, 2021
Organizers with Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles launched a campaign Wednesday targeting two of Southern California’s biggest police unions, saying they will push to have them ejected from the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and ultimately disbanded.
Activists said they intend to stage protests every week outside the headquarters of the Police Protective League, the union that represents roughly 9,800 Los Angeles police officers, while also working to end that group’s status as a labor union.
Meet George Gascón, the Rogue Prosecutor Whose Policies Are Wreaking Havoc in Los Angeles
The Heritage Foundation Feb 24th, 2021,
Commentary By Charles "Cully" Stimson, Senior Legal Fellow & Manager, National Security Law Program and Zack Smith, Legal Fellow, Meese Center
He wants to kick Jim Crow out of the California Constitution
LA Times By Maria L. La Ganga, Feb. 24, 2021
Dorsey Nunn, who spent 11 years in prison for murder, is now runs an advocacy group called Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
I Got Covid at Rikers. I’m Still Suffering.
What happened in prisons during this pandemic is criminal.
NYTimes, Feb. 4, 2021, By Michele Evans
Ms. Evans is a former software engineer. She was incarcerated at Rikers during the coronavirus pandemic.
LA County Supes Take Next Steps In Effort To Decriminalize Mental Health Crises
Witness LA, February 24, 2021, by Taylor Walker
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed two motions to improve mental health crisis response in LA County.
Through the first motion, the county will co-sponsor AB 988, a bill to adopt “988” as an alternative to calling “911” for mental health emergency services.
Because this system will not be in place until summer 2022, Supervisor Hahn introduced a second motion focused on “doing something now” to address the fact that the county has “too many call centers that basically exist in silos and operate separately from each other.”
Local Spending on Jails Tops $25 Billion in Latest Nationwide Data
Costs increased despite falling crime and fewer people being admitted to jail
Pew Charitable Trust, ISSUE BRIEF, January 29, 2021
Editorial: L.A. County voters elected George Gascón to change the criminal justice system. Let him do it
By the LA Times Editorial Board, Jan. 28, 2021
,,,after voters opted for Gascón’s vision of criminal justice reform, and after he issued a set of directives on his first day in office to put his reform policies into effect, the deputies’ labor union went to court to block him. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Although the union — the Los Angeles Assn. of Deputy District Attorneys — is not challenging the election itself, it’s trying to forestall its practical effect...
As Biden Dumps For Profit Prisons With New Exec Order, 100 Criminal Justice Leaders — Including LA DA George Gascón & A List Of Other Prosecutors — Urge POTUS To End Death Penalty
WitnessLA, January 27, 2021, by Celeste Fremon
Prosecutors From All Over U.S. Support District Attorney Gascón Against Attempt To Shut Down LA DA’s Promised Justice Reforms
WitnessLA, January 20, 2021 by Celeste Fremon
...Are George Gascón’s reforms really unlawful and a threat to public safety? A group of 65 prosecutors — working and retired — from all over the U.S. have said no and no.
This broad group of prosecutors expressed their views in the form of an Amicus Brief in support of Gascón and his team in the legal conflict, which is to be heard on February 2, 2021 in the court of Judge James C. Chalfant.
‘Shocking’ look at legalization: Equity doesn’t extend to arrests
The Leaf Online, by WCL News Service
Two groundbreaking reports and a documentary project released in the summer show the history of racial injustice in cannabis policy and how cannabis revenues are feeding the expansion of law enforcement across the state of California. As feared, these numbers show that racism is alive and flourishing in state and local police enforcement.
Illinois Will End Cash Bail — And Limit Use Of High-Tech Incarceration
Reformers typically propose predictive algorithms and electronic monitoring as alternatives to money bail. Illinois is different.
The Intercept, Isaac ScherIsaac Scher, January 17 2021
California to phase out Division of Juvenile Justice, creating an opportunity for substantial reform
KOLD News 13 Arizona, By Kiara Quaranta, January 7, 2021
See how the rest of the US watches California....
25 California prisons have logged more than 1,000 infections. None are in the first wave of vaccinations.
NYTimes, January 3, 2021
California’s prison system, which has been exceptionally hard-hit by the coronavirus, has started vaccinating some inmates — but none so far at the 25 prisons that have been most overwhelmed by infections, including San Quentin, Avenal State Prison and the California Institution for Men.
Celebrities, cash and questions:
A new force roils the cannabis prisoner-release movement
The Last Prisoner Project brings fund-raising heft to a long-starved cause, but its fellow advocates say it isn’t necessarily a team player.
Politico, By Mona Zhang, 12/30/2020
Note: LARRP is frequently mentioned in this article
Congress clinches deal to restore Pell grants for prisoners 26 years after ban
The compromise also includes language to simplify the application for federal financial aid and grant more than $1 billion in loan forgiveness for HBCUs.
Politico, By Michael Stratford, 12/20/2020
The Coronavirus Has Found a Safe Harbor
NYTimes 12/18/2020 by Nathaniel Lash
We are making the same deadly mistakes all over again. New cases show the protocols adopted by even the most proactive jails aren’t working. Crowded jails, where social distancing is virtually impossible, are fueling outbreaks both inside and outside of their walls.
“There’s no question with a new peak in infections that we have to be decarcerating now,” said Dr. Emily Wang, the director of Yale School of Medicine’s Health Justice Lab. “If we don’t have larger-scale decarceration efforts, we won’t control Covid.”
There’s one solution: Break our addiction to locking people up. Why can’t we do it?
George Gascón’s plans to overhaul prosecutions meet early resistance from judges, others
LA Times, By James Queally, December. 18, 2020
On his first day in office, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón announced sweeping changes that he promised would dramatically alter how justice is delivered in the county.
But in the week since his heady proclamations, Gascón’s reform plans have been met with resistance from judges, his own prosecutors and crime victims, who are challenging both the ethics of his vision and whether he has the authority to carry out one of its main components.
On first day as L.A. County D.A., George Gascón eliminates bail, remakes sentencing rules
LA Times By James Queally , Dec. 7, 2020
George Gascón embarked Monday on a plan to reimagine criminal prosecutions in Los Angeles County, announcing sweeping policy changes he’ll make as district attorney that include an end to cash bail, a ban on prosecutors seeking enhanced prison sentences and showing leniency to many low-level offenders.
The dramatic reversals of deeply ingrained, traditional law enforcement strategies in the nation’s largest district attorney’s office, also will include a review of thousands of old cases to determine whether lighter sentences or prisoner releases should be sought, Gascón said in a speech during his swearing-in ceremony.
George Gascón On Being LA's New Progressive Prosecutor
Law 360 Interview By Cara Bayles | December 6, 2020
Scams led California to send COVID jobless benefits to Scott Peterson, death row inmates
LA Times, By Anita Chabria, Patrick Mcgreevy, Richard Winton, Nov. 24, 2020
...The D.A.s called the situation “the most significant fraud on taxpayer funds in California history,” according to a letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times, describing fraud that involves identity theft of prisoners as well as alleged scams by individual inmates and organized gangs to game the state system....
Black and Latino renters face eviction, exclusion amid police crackdowns in California
LATimes, By Liam Dillon, Ben Poston, Julia Barajas, Nov. 19, 2020
Police Unions Spent Millions To Beat Back Reform In Los Angeles. They Lost Big Time.
Huffington Post, By Jessica Schulberg, 11/14/2020
Grassroots organizing by groups like Black Lives Matter delivered criminal justice reform victories in America’s most populous county.
George Gascón Wins Race For Los Angeles D.A. In Major Victory For Progressive Prosecutor Movement
The Appeal, Eliyahu Kamisher, Nov 06, 2020
Los Angeles County, with the country’s largest jail system and largest local prosecutor office, is considered a crown jewel in a nationwide push for criminal justice reform.
California goes big on criminal justice reform, setting a more progressive path
LA Times, By Kevin Rector, Anita Chabria, James Queally, Benjamin Oreskes, Nov. 5, 2020
California voters expressed a clear appetite for criminal justice reform on election night, supporting a series of ambitious changes after a summer of mass protests sparked a painful reckoning around racial injustice and debate over the role of policing.
Los Angeles voters just delivered a huge win for the defund the police movement
VOX, By Roge Karma, Nov 4, 2020
LA’s “Yes on J” campaign flipped the message from defunding cops to investing in everything else. It worked brilliantly.
Snoop Dogg and Gavin Newsom
in conversation about VOTING!
Instagram Live, November 2, 2020
ABC7 Presents the LA County District Attorney Debate
California becomes the first state in the nation to end collection of fees in the criminal legal system
Bay View, October 2, 2020
NBA players’ historic push to increase turnout started by getting each other to vote
The Washington Post, By Candace Buckner, Oct. 1, 2020
How Even a Casual Brush with the Law Can Permanently Mar a Young Man’s Life – especially if he’s Black
Even a single arrest, without conviction, can be devastating to the rest of a young man’s life – especially if he’s Black – particularly in terms of employment and earnings.
Portside, September 29, 2020 Gary Painter
Is LA County About To Critically Underfund Diversion Just When It’s Needed Most?
witnessLA, September 27, 2020 by Celeste Fremon
A new letter sent to the members of LA County Board of Supervisors from the ACLU of Southern California says that is exactly what is about to happen this coming Tuesday, September 29, unless changes are made in the county’s supplemental budget, which is about to come up for a vote.
Citizens Oversight Commissioner Robert Bonner Calls For The Resignation Of Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Witness LA, September 17, 2020 by Celeste Fremon
For Prisoners in the West, the Virus and the Wildfires Are Colliding Threats
NYTimes By Tim Arango and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs
Sept. 14, 2020
Prisoners are more vulnerable than ever to the twin crises of the pandemic and a historic wildfire season.
Prisons and jails are rolling back free phone and video calls. They should be extending them instead
Prison Policy Initiative, by Wanda Bertram, September 11, 2020
Amidst a pandemic and recession, policymakers should be fighting for extended — if not permanent — financial relief for incarcerated people and their families.
Restorative Justice Advocates Prepare For National Expungement Week
High Times, A.J. Herrington, September 7, 2020
National Expungement Week is just around the corner—here’s what you need to know!
Lawmakers Run Out Of Time To Pass Big Justice Bills, Including One To Allow CA DOJ To Decertify Police Fired For Misconduct
WitnessLA, September 2, 2020 by Taylor Walker
California could soon end its dumb policy on inmate firefighters. What took so long?
LA Times, By Erika D. Smith, Aug. 31, 2020
After years of pushing, mostly by Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace), the Legislature on Sunday night sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would help former prisoners — most of them Black and Latino — to earn the emergency medical technician license necessary to become full-time, year-round firefighters with the state, and numerous counties and cities.
Under AB 2147, former prisoners who have successfully worked in one of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s fire camps will be able to petition a judge to quickly expunge their records and waive parole time. They then would be able to apply not only for an EMT license but a host of other licenses required by other professions.
LARRP Partner Amity Foundation is serving as the hub for housing and services in new $30 Million Public-Private Partnership
August 27, 2020
Today, as COVID-19 spreads through prisons and jails, philanthropies and nonprofits joined the State of California and Governor Gavin Newsom to announce “Returning Home Well,” a new public-private partnership that provides essential services — like housing, health care, treatment, transportation, direct assistance, and employment support — for Californians returning home from prison after July 1, 2020. These are individuals that have either met their natural release date or are being released on an expedited timeline due to COVID-19. The State announced an initial commitment of $15 million, which will be matched by philanthropic contributions for a total goal of $30 million.
“Expediting release is necessary, but so is ensuring that services are available in a way that supports those returning home to achieve successful outcomes,” said Doug Bond, CEO of the Amity Foundation. “Supporting this type of service is an essential piece of a much broader, long-term public health and social progress solution.”
The Coronavirus Gave Them Jobs — And A New Lease On Life
LA Times by By Doug Smith, Aug. 25, 2020
LARRP Partner Chrysalis has several clients participating in this much needed work!
Police Reform Advocates Scrutinize Police Unions, Calling Them Obstacles To Reform
La Times, By Kevin Rector Aug. 18, 2020
Activist DeRay Mckesson’s group Campaign Zero has released a new platform challenging the influence of police unions.
Leaving Gun Towers and Barbed Wire for a Healing House
NYTimes, Aug. 7, 2020, By Patricia Leigh Brown
Susan Burton, an advocate for formerly incarcerated women, is racing against the clock to shelter those freed early because of the surge of coronavirus cases in prisons.
L.A. County voters to decide whether to divert millions to social services and racial justice
LA Times, By Jaclyn Cosgrove, Alene Tchekmedyian
Aug. 4, 2020
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a measure Tuesday to let voters decide whether to boost spending on social services, in an initiative dubbed “Re-Imagine L.A. County” that has drawn strong opposition from labor unions and Sheriff Alex Villaneuva, who called it a veiled attempt to reduce funding for law enforcement.
The measure, slated for the November election, would amend the county’s charter, requiring that 10% of locally generated, unrestricted county money — about $400 million — be spent on housing, mental health programs, jail diversion, employment opportunities and social services. The county would be prohibited from using the money on prisons, jails or law enforcement agencies.
Coronavirus In Jails And Prisons
The Appeal, by Kelly Davis, Jul 30, 2020
California watchdog agency that repeatedly warned of "dire consequences" of prison overcrowding urges lawmakers to implement reforms; human rights org tweets "keep-you-up-at-night horrifying" stories from Georgia jail; and we map out four days of coronavirus outbreaks.
California’s Huge Overdose Increase Didn’t Have to Happen
Filter, By Travis Lupick, July 28, 2020
LA County Supervisors OK Reforms to Fight Racism, Gender Equality – Fund Alternatives to Jail
The Davis Vanguard, July 23, 2020
“It is time to prioritize the Office of Diversion and Reentry, as well as other promising ‘care first, jail last’ programs with a stable, dedicated budget commitment. Making such a rock-solid commitment, with the support of voters across Los Angeles County, will guarantee that these efforts will have the chance to succeed,”
reads the motion drafted by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis.
California to release 8,000 prisoners in hopes of easing coronavirus crisis
LA Times, July 10 2020
By John Myers, Phil Willon
SACRAMENTO — As many as 8,000 California prisoners could be released ahead of schedule in an unprecedented attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 inside state prisons, with more than half of the releases expected by the end of the month.
The announcement on Friday by top advisors to Gov. Gavin Newsom offered stark evidence of the dire health conditions at several California prisons.
Top medical officer for California prisons ousted amid worsening coronavirus outbreak
By Richard Winton, Kim Christensen
LA Times, July 6, 2020
As COVID-19 infections spread rapidly through California’s prisons, authorities on Monday announced the replacement of the state correction system’s top medical officer, and Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized an earlier decision to transfer hundreds of inmates from a Chino facility that had been battling an outbreak.
In L.A., Black activists debate the value of dialogue with police in reform efforts
LA Times, June 29, 2020
By Leila Miller...The 90-minute forum reflects significantly different approaches within the Black community toward how to create lasting change from the unrest...
To reform or reconstruct?
Young Black activists, challenging ‘respectability politics’ of their elders, give voice to a new movement for social change
LA Times, By Sarah Parvini
Pastor Eddie Anderson was sensing a generational split among his fellow Black activists, and it frustrated him.
'Nowhere to go': U.S. pandemic prison releases prompt housing concerns
Reuters, June 29, 2020
By Carey L. Biron
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Livia Pinheiro got out of prison, she had been held for more than a decade - first by the state of California, then by the federal government and finally by immigration officials. When it was all over, she had no home to go to.
Punishment by Pandemic
In a penitentiary with one of the U.S.’s largest coronavirus outbreaks, prison terms become death sentences.
By Rachel Aviv
The New Yorker, June 15, 2020
Floyd death propels police reformers in key prosecutor races
By Jeremy B. White
OAKLAND, Calif. — The widespread fury over George Floyd's death provides a sudden window of opportunity for a national movement that has tried for years to remake the criminal justice landscape through high-profile prosecutor races around the country.
In Los Angeles and a series of contests in Florida and New York, campaigns hope that demonstrators and their allies can supply critical votes in November, converting a generational outpouring of activism into district attorneys with the will and authority to prosecute police officers and advocate for broader policy changes.
Probation Conditions Relaxed During The Pandemic. Some Say They Should Stay That Way.
The Appeal, by Lauren Lee White
Jun 08, 2020
Public safety is not improved by stricter probation and parole rules, researchers have found.
Movement to defund police gains 'unprecedented' support across US
Sam Levin in Los Angeles
The Guardian, June 4, 2020
Activists say the way to stop police brutality and killings is to cut law enforcement budgets and reinvest in services. Some lawmakers now agree
Don’t Bar Ex-Offenders From Coronavirus Aid Funds
NYTimes Op-Ed June 2, 2020
By Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
Mr. Vance is the Manhattan district attorney.The Trump administration unilaterally excluded those with criminal records from loan programs. The decision should be reversed.
The Pandemic Has Emptied Prisons. We Examine The Effects, As Well As the Challenges To Reentry
KPCC Airtalk, May 21, 2020
Hosted by Larry Mantel
CSUF Graduates of 2020:
Project Rebound student sets her sights on criminal justice reform
Orange County Register,May 28, 2020
By Susan Gill Vardon
California’s prisons and jails have emptied thousands into a world changed by coronavirus
LATimes, May 17, 2020
By Matt Hamilton, James Queally, Alene Tchekmedyian
In short order, the coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a sweeping and historic emptying of California’s overcrowded prisons and jails, as officials have dramatically lowered the number of people held in custody to avert deadly outbreaks.
State data show California’s prisons have released about 3,500 inmates while the daily jail population across 58 counties is down by 20,000 from late February.
The exodus is having a profound and still-evolving effect: Those leaving custody enter a vastly different world in which a collapsed economy, scant job opportunities and the closure of many government offices have compounded the challenges of getting lives back on track.
Discussion Looks at COVID Response by LA DA Ahead of November Election
Vanguard, May 14, 2020
by David Greenwald
With challenger George Gascón headed to a runoff against incumbent Jackie Lacey in November in LA’s District Attorney race, the discussion is ramping up on what the DA’s office needs to do to save lives during the COVID-19 discussion. But, while George Gascón participated in the LA Justice Coalition Event, as Jackie Lacey did prior to the primary, she declined to participate.
70% of inmates test positive for coronavirus at Lompoc federal prison
LA Times, May 9, 2020
By Richard Winton, Staff Writer
The number of inmates infected with the coronavirus at a federal prison in Lompoc, Calif., shot up to 792 this week, making it the largest federal penitentiary outbreak in the nation, surpassing a facility on Terminal Island in San Pedro, where 644 inmates have contracted the virus.
Nearly 70% of the inmates at Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc have tested positive, exploding by more than 300 in recent days, officials said Friday. FCI Lompoc along with Terminal Island now account for about 47% of all the federal inmates who have tested positive nationwide. Both prisons have done widespread testing of hundred of inmates even without symptoms.
Eleven staff members are also infected at the Lompoc facility, which houses 1,162 low-security inmates. A military mobile hospital has been built on the grounds to cope with the growing number of stricken patients.
LARRP Steering Committee Member and Policy Committee Co-Chair, Joseph Maizlish is featured in this recent article in the LA Progressive
Keeping Tabs on Los Angeles County — April 27 to May 1
Film producer says coronavirus "shouldn't be a death sentence" for inmates
BY Tyler Kendall
CBS NEWS, April 23, 2020
Interview with Scott Budnick, Anti-Recidivism Coalition
Grocery, drug, food-delivery workers earn protections from LA County amid coronavirus outbreak
PressTelegram, By City News Service, April 14, 2020
Ordinance requires employers to sanitize and stock bathrooms with necessary supplies, clean stores and shopping carts between uses and provide security to enforce social distancing, among other standards.
We need help': Alabama prisoner pleas for assistance in fighting COVID-19 | ABC News
ABC News, Apr 5, 2020
Flattening the Curve for Incarcerated Populations — Covid-19 in Jails and Prisons
A Plea To Governor Newsom:
Don’t Abandon Elderly Incarcerated People To Die From Covid-19
We can’t allow “violent criminal” rhetoric to justify leaving some of the most vulnerable people in dangerous conditions.
Governor Newsom Grants Executive Clemency 3.27.20
First inmate in California’s prison system tests positive for coronavirus
By Paige St. John
Editorial boards in two most populous U.S. counties push for decarceration:
On Wednesday, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times pointed out the ways in which a COVID-19 outbreak in jails and prisons is a crisis for incarcerated people, their families, and everyone else. The necessary response, the board wrote, is to quickly lower the number of incarcerated people. It applauds the steps taken thus far by Sheriff Alex Villanueva but calls for much more to be done. Specifically, the board adds, “Virtually no defendant should be admitted to jail during this emergency who does not pose a risk to public safety. By definition that includes anyone with bail set, whether they can pay it or not, and anyone subject to jail for a technical parole or probation violation.”
Yesterday, the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times called on county justice officials and the office of the Cook County chief judge to “to develop a process to more quickly release many more incarcerated people—without compromising public safety—who run a high risk of being felled by the disease.”
America's Mental Health Crisis Hidden Behind Bars
Tens of thousands of names appear on CalGang database, used by police across the state
L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announces dismissal of 66,000 marijuana convictions
Ray Leyva Joins L.A. County Probation As Interim Chief
LAPD making almost half as many arrests as a decade ago
Ventura Training Center Provides Parolees Path in Firefighting
Spectrum News 1, By Tanya McRae Camarillo,Dec. 26, 2019
U.S. Supreme Court leaves in place ruling barring prosecution of homeless
The Hidden Cost of Incarceration
Why people are freezing in America’s prisons
Rural justice systems low on pretrial resources leave some to languish, die
The hidden scandal of US criminal justice?
Rural incarceration has boomed
While big cities are finally putting fewer people in jail, small towns and rural counties are locking up more people than ever
How College In Prison Turns Around Lives And Saves Taxpayers Money
Algorithms were supposed to make Virginia judges fairer. What happened was far more complicated
Since you asked: Is it me, or is the government releasing less data about the criminal justice system?
Patrisse Cullors, LA Reform Jails Tackle Mental Health, Mass Incarceration with Mental Health Matters Summit + Day Party
Los Angeles County Works to Transform Criminal Justice Through Collaboration
For My Incarcerated Clients, There Is No Winning
The Marshall Project, Oct. 17, 2019
Nearing His Legislative Deadline, Governor Newsom Signs 2 Dozen Crucial Criminal And Juvenile Justice Bills
Two Prosecutors Were Shaped by 1980s Los Angeles. Now They Have Opposing Views on Criminal Justice.
California Lawmakers Approve Ban of For-Profit Prisons and ICE Jails
Opinion: NYC Should Learn from LA Before Building New Jails
LA County May Soon Create A Civil Justice Defense Program To Address The Collateral Consequences Of Incarceration
Seattle Has Figured Out How to End the War on Drugs While other cities are jailing drug users, Seattle has found another way.
We asked 3 prisoners about the movement to give them voting rights
L.A. County Will Explore Possibility of Separating Youth from Probation
Gov. Newsom grants pardon to Susan Burton, who assists women returning to society after prison
Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Leads Campaign To Shut Down 'Death Trap' Jails In Los Angeles
We must stop sentencing people of color to death in Los Angeles County
The Daily News,
Priscilla Ocen, July 22, 2019
Across the country, people of goodwill increasingly recognize that death penalty is a racist, immoral system that is broken beyond repair. Yet, it appears that Los Angeles County has yet to get the message.
Governor Newsom Announces Regional Leaders & Statewide Experts who will Advise on Solutions to Combat Homelessness
Services for the Homeless in South LAKPCC’s Take Two with A Martinez
BSCC Board Awards $96m In Prop 47 Grants
America’s Growing Gender Jail Gap
Gov. Newsom’s Revised Budget Features Significant New Reform-Minded Criminal Justice Spending
L.A. County can safely release and treat thousands of mentally ill inmates. So do it
California at a Crossroads: Ending Youth Trauma by Closing Violent DJJ Institutions
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, March 20, 2019
In January, in one of his first acts as Governor, Gavin Newsom pledged to “end youth imprisonment in California as we know it” and called for a radical reorganization of the state’s troubled youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
What Our Community Can Learn From Portugal’s Experience Decriminalizing Drugs
California bill to ease pathway for former inmates to become firefighters
After Incarceration, Former Prisoners Face a Tough Journey Home to Find Work, Reunite with Family and Begin Again
The next step for justice reform: Ending the ban on federal Pell Grants for eligible students behind bars
The Hill, 03/20/19
Rap Sheets Haunt Former Inmates. California May Change That.
Is It a Jail? Is It a Hospital? Vote of County Supervisors Exposes Chronic Confusion and Corruption
Justice not Jails, Feb. 17, 2019
By Peter Laarman
Changing the name from “Consolidated Care Treatment Facility” to “Mental Health Treatment Center” actually accomplishes very little and raises more questions than it answers. Read more
In landmark move, L.A. County will replace Men’s Central Jail with mental health hospital for inmates
By MAYA LAU
LATimes, FEB 13, 2019
Los Angeles County supervisors narrowly approved a plan Tuesday to tear down the dungeon-like Men’s Central Jail downtown and build at least one mental health treatment facility in its place.
Plan to create an L.A. County womens' jail in Lancaster faces serious opposition
LA TIMES By MAYA LAU JAN 08, 2019
A controversial women’s jail project that has been in development for years is now facing serious opposition from key stakeholders who are demanding more therapeutic alternatives for women in Los Angeles County’s criminal justice system. Read the article
L.A. County needs to seriously rethink the Mira Loma women's jail
By THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD
JAN 02, 2019
The criminal justice system was built for men — men’s bodies, men’s psyches, men’s problems. But the fastest-growing contingent of jail and prison inmates is women. They are housed in institutions not built with them in mind and are guarded by officers untrained to meet their needs and challenges. Read the editorial
Congress and President Trump Consider Bi-Partisan Criminal Justice Reform Legislation, The First Step Act,
Here's what it does: (From the Marshall Project)
Measure H Helped 10,000 Homeless People Into Permanent Housing, Officials Say
By NBC Channel 4, City News Service
A half-cent sales tax passed by Los Angeles County voters nearly two years ago to fund homeless programs has been a significant success...
Immigrants facing deportation, drug offenders and a former state lawmaker receive pardons from Gov. Jerry Brown
by John Myers and Jazmine Ulloa, Nov 21, 2018
MacArthur Foundation awards millions to cut jail populations
By Claudia Lauer, October 24, 201
By SAL RODRIGUEZ |OPINION | Orange County Register
July 2, 2018
The much-hyped Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 has failed to make the November 2018 ballot.
Prop. 47 Lessened Racial Disparities in Drug Arrests
Ballot Measure to Counteract the ‘War on Drugs’ Cut Arrests Across California
By Laura Kurtzman on June 21, 2018
Now, a study out of UC San Francisco has quantified the effects of the ballot measure, which was at the leading edge of a national movement to reduce incarceration rates and change the criminal justice approach to substance use disorders.
Fixing some of California's tough-on-crime mistakes of the past
San Diego Union Tribune
May 25, 2018
Who overpacked California’s prisons? It was first-term Gov. Jerry Brown, when he signed into law the Uniform Determinate Sentencing Act in 1976. And it was the Legislature’s Democratic majority, who’d sent Brown the act in the first place and then tried to outflank tough-on-crime Republicans by adding one sentence-lengthening provision (or “enhancement”) after another. Read more
Two Important editorials by the LA Times last month:
Marijuana is now legal in California. Continuing to punish prior offenders is cruel and unnecessary
Marijuana is now legal under California law, but hundreds of thousands of Californians have criminal records for possessing or selling the drug
Read the full editorial
Don’t let this Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
By THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD
FEB 13, 2018
Read the full editorial
California's top court strikes down 50-year sentences for juveniles
By MAURA DOLAN
FEB 26, 2018
The California Supreme Court decided Monday that juveniles may not be sentenced to 50 years or longer in prison for kidnapping, rape and sodomy.
Slavery is alive and kickin'
Pacific Standard Magazine
LEE V. GAINES, NOV 27, 2017
Across the country, minor pot infractions disproportionately affect people of color. Newly enacted legislation in the Golden State is working to ease those penalties.
LA Times Editorial
NOV 20, 2017
One of the broken promises of the criminal justice system is that a person who completes felony time in prison or jail will leave with a clean slate and a chance to start over. It doesn't work that way. Liberty once lost is rarely fully restored...
Photographer Brian L. Frank captures the lives of men on the fire lines and at home in prison conservation camps.
In response, the state's fire agency, CALFIRE, has mobilized more than 11,000 firefighters.
Of those, 1,500 were inmates from minimum security conservation camps run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where they are trained to work on fire suppression and other emergencies like floods and earthquakes.
Published: October 30, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO – October 30, 2017 – A new research report released today from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice examines local trends in California’s property crime from 2010 through 2016, a period marked by major justice system reform, including Public Safety Realignment, Prop 47, and Prop 57 (read more)
By Bruce Western and Vincent Schiraldi | July 20, 2017
The Crime Report
In our nation’s expanding discussion about eliminating mass incarceration, advocates, researchers and the media are missing a major contributor to incarcerated populations and a partial deprivation of liberty in its own right.
Mass supervision through probation and parole. (read more)
Prop. 47 got thousands out of prison. Now, $103 million in savings will go towards keeping them out
June 9, 2017, SACRAMENTO, CA – Yesterday, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) announced $103 million dollars in grant awards for community diversion and treatment programs across California. Demonstrating the largest reallocation of prison budget funds to community-based programs, this is a historic opportunity for California to lead the way in ensuring effective treatment, diversion and reentry services for individuals most impacted by our criminal justice system.
The Morality of Government Spending: Who Decides What Gets Funded?
BY BRIAN BIERY
Budgets are moral documents. As a society, we demonstrate our values by what we spend our money on. So when governments draft budgets they show what is important to bureaucrats and politicians, but what if their perspectives are not aligned with the public? And how do we insert what we value into the process?
Survivors of Violent Crime Raise Their Voices in California to call for a new Approach to Criminal Justice
By JAZMINE ULLOA
APR 17, 2018
As the state has rolled back sentencing laws through legislation and voter initiatives, a growing victims' rights movement is pushing for alternatives to incarceration, with greater investment in rehabilitation services and a reevaluation of what it takes to make communities safe.
Pregnant Behind Bars, Part 5: Looking To The Future
Witness LA, December 31, 2021 by Taylor Walker
At the beginning of this five-part series, we looked at the statistics and history of incarcerating pregnant people and women in LA and nationally and introduced readers to Los Angeles County’s unique Maternal Health Diversion Program. In subsequent parts of the series, we went step-by-step through the pregnancy diversion process which starts in jail, and ends with permanent housing, and looked at ways in which that process can get knocked off track. Later, we shared experiences of individual mothers participating in the program — stories of living unhoused, of frequent incarceration, of being pregnant in jail, and of life after the diversion program.
Now, in the final part of the Pregnant Behind Bars series, we’ll explore the pressing need for LA’s Office of Diversion and Reentry to scale up its diversion capacity, and why, thus far, the money to do so hasn’t been there.
A new podcast about the system that sentences juveniles to life in prison, a story of incarceration, redemption, and the unusual relationship between a journalist and a source.
The Justice Department says inmates confined at home can stay there after Covid emergency ends
NYTimes, Tuesday, December 21, 2021
The Justice Department moved on Tuesday to allow federal inmates to remain on home confinement after the government declares an end to the Covid emergency, reversing a Trump-era legal opinion that said the Bureau of Prisons would have to recall them to federal facilities.
Open Letter Re: Recent New York Times George Gascón Article
This is an open letter, published in the LA Progressive, that LARRP and many of our partners signed on to.
"We are writing in response to the recent New York Times Magazine story about George Gascón: He’s Remaking Criminal Justice in L.A. But How Far is Too Far? by Emily Bazelon and Jennifer Medina. We appreciate it when reporters ask difficult questions about what policies best protect public safety, when they interrogate well-accepted but unproven norms about how to reduce crime, and when they examine public perception of crime and causation versus reality. This article does some of that, but it also misleads the public on the current state of criminal legal system change in Los Angeles and across the country. We are at a precipice in this country, where criminal justice reporting that strays from an objective discussion of research and evidence can support political attempts to roll back badly needed change. For this reason, we issue this response..."
He’s Remaking Criminal Justice in L.A. But How Far Is Too Far?
New York Times Magazine, By Emily Bazelon and Jennifer Medina, Nov. 17, 2021
To keep people out of prison, George Gascón is risking everything: rising violent crime, a staff rebellion and the votes that made him district attorney.
Letter: Build Back Better Act
The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), a national criminal legal reform and immigrant justice organization, commends the U.S. House of Representatives on the passage of the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, a bill making historic investments in economic and climate change policy that will strengthen our economy and communities across the country for generations to come. We encourage the Senate to take up the bill and pass it quickly while keeping the package intact and ensuring the intended impact of the policy—to improve people’s lives and strengthen communities and the economy—is realized.
Gun Violence Soared During The COVID-19 Pandemic, A New Study Finds – But The Reasons Are Complicated
WitnessLA, November 16, 2021, by Paddy Ssentongo and Jennifer McCall-Hosenfeld
In a new study, we found that the overall U.S. gun violence rate rose by 30% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the year before. In 28 states, the rates were substantially higher between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, compared to the pre-pandemic period from Feb. 1, 2019, through Feb. 29, 2020. There were 51,063 incidents of gun violence events resulting in injury or death in the United States in the first 13 months of the pandemic compared to 38,919 incidents in the same time span pre-pandemic.
A solution to the US worker shortage and inequity is hiding in plain sight
The Hill, By Leslie Crutchfield and Carla Javits, Opinion Contributors — 11/10/21
U.S. companies are in a bind. As unemployment rates decline, corporations are scrambling to fill more than 10 million open jobs. But many are looking in the wrong places. A promising solution to this big business challenge is hiding in plain sight.
Lawmakers Cannot Ignore the Victimization of Children in the Justice System | Opinion
Newsweek, By J. Douglas Overbey And George Gascón , Prosecutors, 11/4/21
As prosecutors who come from opposite sides of the political aisle, we have seen first-hand how our laws have resulted in unfair, and at times, harsh and callous punishment imposed on vulnerable children
Inside an LAPD crime briefing: Homicides, ‘hood days’ and the ‘compounding’ violence
LA Times, by Kevin Rector, Oct. 31, 2021
Editorial: For former prisoners to have a shot at a normal life, we need successful reentry programs
By The LA Times Editorial Board, Oct. 28, 2021
Coming home from prison can be as scary as staying inside. In fact it can be worse, especially for people without a supportive family to offer housing and meals, and to assist in finding employment, medical care and other services.
LA County tees up agreement with Metro for mental-health crisis response teams
Los Angeles Daily News, City News Service, October 19, 2021
Mental health teams are expected to be accessible through a new national mental health crisis hotline, 988, next summer.
An Outlier of Injustice
Introduction To Special Issue
Science Magazine, Tage Rai and Brad Wible, October 15th
Amid burgeoning interest in scholarship on criminal justice, this special issue examines social science research on the state of mass incarceration in the US: its origin and expansion, its far-reaching effects on families and communities, and why the public tolerates and encourages it.
U.S. Attorney’s Office and Law Enforcement Partners Address Surge in Violent Crime through Strategic Prosecutions and Community Outreach
Southern District of California, News Release Summary – October 19, 2021
SAN DIEGO – To address an increase in violent crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners in the Southern District of California have launched an effort to strategically prosecute the region’s most violent and prolific offenders who are believed to be most responsible for the spike, including those with criminal history and criminal gang affiliation who commit gun crimes.
Ridley-Thomas was at the center of L.A.’s fight against homelessness. What happens now?
LA Times, By Benjamin Oreskes, Doug Smith, Oct. 16, 2021
Mark Ridley-Thomas faces a federal corruption indictment that threatens his legacy as the political leader who carried the cause of homeless people on his shoulders
Column: Why South L.A. is staying loyal to Ridley-Thomas, even as he faces federal charges
Once shunned, people convicted of felonies find more employers open to hiring them
LA Times, By Don Lee, Oct. 5, 2021
This story features LARRP long-time partner Chrysalis
Gov. Newsom approves sweeping reforms to law enforcement in California
SACRAMENTO — More than a year after George Floyd’s death, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a stack of bills on Thursday aimed at holding California law enforcement officers accountable for misconduct and restricting uses of force that have resulted in death and injury.
Column: Great news for victims of L.A.'s drug war: Your cannabis convictions will soon vanish
LA Times, By Robin Abcarian Columnist, Sept. 29, 2021
Opinion piece featuring an interview with LARRP Cofounder Lynne Lyman
Newsom Signs Dozens of Affordable Housing Bills Into Law
Newsom said California is cutting red tape and investing state dollars to build 84,000 new housing units
NBC News, By Melissa Colorado, September 28, 2021
LA Sheriff Trashes RAND Report On Deputy Gangs, Refuses Subpoena To Talk To LASD Oversight Commission, & Claims That County Counsel’s Legal Opinion On Deputy Gangs Is Laughable.
Witness LA, September 22, 2021 by Celeste Fremon
Community Violence Interventions—Not More Police—Are the Future of Public Safety
Vera Institute of Justice, By Nazish Dholakia and Daniela Gilbert, September 01, 2021
CVI programs safely and effectively reduce violence without relying on more police.
Editorial: For the love of California, don’t sit out this recall election
By The Times Editorial Board
Aug. 18, 2021
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most formidable challenger in the Sept. 14 recall election is not radio host Larry Elder, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer or any of the other 44 replacement candidates on the ballot, though they may like voters to think so.
Nope, the biggest threat to Newsom — and to Californians — is voter apathy.
LA County Board Of Supes Approves $187.7 Million Spending Package To Advance The County’s “Care First, Jails Last” Vision
Witness LA, August 11, 2021 by Celeste Fremon
The People's Complaint
In response to Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s continuous misconduct, Reform L.A. Jails is submitting a complaint with the Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury, calling for the Sheriff’s removal under Government Code Section 3060. Their complaint details a wide range of misconduct and willful neglect of duty.
See LARRP Co-Founder and Steering Committee Member, Lynne Lyman, in action.
The Tent Mender
Hand Made Productions, is proud to announce the release of a limited three-part documentary film spotlighting people experiencing homelessness. Filmed entirely in the heart of Skid Row, it introduces raw, inspirational, and true stories. The series will be exclusively available to stream on August 6 on IMDb TV, Amazon's free streaming service.
US Recidivism Rates Stay Sky High
The Crime Report, By Eva Herscowitz, July 30, 2021
Seven in 10 incarcerated people released in 34 states in 2012 were rearrested within five years, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report on recidivism rates for prisoners in 34 states between 2012 and 2017.
The report includes grim findings about recidivism in the United States, where rates are among the highest in the world.
4,000 Homebound Detainees Could Be Sent Back to Prison After Pandemic Emergency Order Lifted
Democracy Now July 26, 2021
CEO of homeless shelter remarks on billionaires joyriding in space
Boing Boing, Jason Weisberger, July 21, 2021
Renowned artist Kenny Scharf unveils towering mural on LA’s Skid Row
Los Angeles Daily News By Hans Gutknecht, July 19, 2021
A colorful 66-foot tall mural unveiled at the Los Angeles Mission was donated and painted by the renowned artist Kenny Scharf.
California delays considering supervised sites for drug use
By Associated Press Sacramento Jul. 06, 2021
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers will wait until next year to continue considering a bill that would give opioid users a place to inject drugs in supervised settings, the bill's author said Tuesday.
Emergency homeless shelter at LA Mission in Skid Row to be remodeled
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
The Los Angeles Mission, a non-profit in Skid Row helping the homeless, broke ground Monday to remodel their emergency shelter.... Rev. Troy Vaughn was first in line to help knock down the old walls.
LA City Council supports state bill to legalize safe sites for drug users
MSN News, City News Service, June 22, 2021
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution today to support Senate Bill 57, which would legalize sites where people can use drugs in the presence of medical personnel in an effort to reduce overdoses, which are the leading cause of accidental death in California.
California’s prison boom saved this town. Now, plans to close a lockup are sparking anger and fear
LA Times, June 21, 2021, By Hailey Branson-Potts, Photography By Gary Coronado
Closing CA’s Youth Prisons The Right Way Means Adequately Funding Oversight Of Youth Justice “Realignment” To The Counties
WitnessLA, June 15, 2021 by Celeste Fremon
No Latino judges in these majority-Latino California counties
California News Times, June 8, 2021, By rRhonda Rhymes, CalMatters
....Coulsa is one of four majority-Latino California counties — along with Kings, Madera, and Merced — with no Latino judges in any superior courtrooms. Latino representation on the bench in three of those counties has not improved much since the state began collecting judicial diversity data 14 years ago. And the fourth, Kings — which had one Latino judge in 2007 — is back down to zero.
Column: How the LAPD got this way and five concrete ways it needs to change
LA Times By Sandy Banks, Columnist, May 27, 2021
Women with Lived Experience in the Criminal Legal System Must Lead the Way
Boudin and Gascón Share Their Perceptions of Crime with Reason Magazine
Reason magazine, By Paige Laver, May 21, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorneys Chesa Boudin in San Francisco and George Gascón in Los Angeles discussed the unfolding crime rates throughout California and the best ways to stop it with Reason Magazine this week.
L.A. County releases daily jail ‘dashboard’
by The Antelope Valley Times Staff • May 19, 2021
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday released detailed data on the county jail population. Published in partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice, the jail “dashboard” is expected to be updated daily to help policymakers, advocates and researchers better understand the race, case status and incidence of mental illness — among other characteristics — of the people held behind bars.
View the website
Mission president changing the face of Skid Row
The Wave, May 13, 2021, By Shirley Hawkins
LOS ANGELES — For seven years, Troy Vaughn’s home was in a cardboard box on Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
“I lived in and out of the streets, sleeping in cardboard boxes periodically,” Vaughn said. “I was in and out of shelters, cars, and missions — anywhere just to find a place to sleep.”
Inside George Gascon’s justice revolution, a debate over what it is to be a crime victim
LA Times, By James Queally, Joe Mozingo, May 16, 2021
Newsom's AG pick will test California's mood on criminal justice
Politico, By Jeremy B. White, Alexander Nieves And Richard Tzul, 05/06/2021
Rob Bonta has routinely been at odds with law enforcement, who remain powerful in California and could very well back a credible challenger.
Fair Chance Employment
An excerpt from Untapped Talent explains how second chance hiring works for both businesses and communities.
Stanford Social Innovation Review, By Jeffrey D. Korzenik May 4, 2021
Brutalized in prison and freed by Bryan Stevenson, a survivor writes his story
LA Times, By Stuart Miller, May 3, 2021
Ian Manuel was sentenced to life without parole at age 14. His 1991 photo (left) was taken at Lake Butler Reception Center on his first day in prison. After a Supreme Court decision led to his release, he wrote a memoir, ‘My Time Will Come.’
Second-chance hiring is a win-win for employers and communities
The Washington Examiner, by Megan Rose, April 29, 2021
Few things are sadder than witnessing a person lose hope.
SJ County loses $220 million because of old criminal records, legislation proposes relief
The Record, Laura S. Diaz April 30, 2021
A criminal reform bill is making its way through the California State Senate that could automatically seal criminal records after a person has completed 2 full years out of the criminal justice system...
...Californians for Safety and Justice estimated that San Joaquin County loses $220,000,000 a year, contributing to the state’s $20.8 billion gross domestic product loss because of old criminal records and the obstacles for individuals to reintegrate into society successfully.
San Diego County district attorney moves to lift all gang injunctions
San Diego Union-Tribune, By David Hernandez , April 28, 2021
La Semana de las Víctimas del Crimen debe dirigirse a todas las sobrevivientes del crimen
LA Opinion, Susan Bustamante, 28 de Abril 2021
The Facts on Marijuana Equity and Decriminalization
Center for American Progress By Akua Amaning, April 20, 2021
Why it’s time to end the federal criminalization of marijuana
Decriminalization refers to the elimination of criminal penalties for the use, possession, or sale of drugs. There are many legitimate reasons to support the decriminalization of marijuana, but the prime motivating factor for many is to redress the injustices caused by decades of harsh enforcement of marijuana crimes—particularly against people of color.
Policing Los Angeles: The Forces At Work And The Scope Of Their Power
There's LAPD and LASD — and 70 more(!) police departments operating in Los Angeles County.
The LAist By Frank Stoltze , Gina Pollack and Brianna Lee, Apr 20, 2021
MAT Often Not an Option for Opioid Users in Justice System
— Medicaid expansion seems to have helped, but not a lot
by Kara Grant, Enterprise & Investigative Writer, MedPage Today April 16, 2021
Criminal justice populations were significantly less likely to receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) -- such as methadone and buprenorphine -- even with the increased access brought about by Medicaid expansion in certain states, a recent study found.
When typical middle school antics mean suspensions, handcuffs or jail
The Hechinger Report: by Levi Pulkkinen, April 8, 2021
Middle school remains a key entry point to the criminal justice system, especially for Black, Latino and Native students and those with disabilities
Editorial: Court takes a giant step on bail, but more work is needed
By The La Times Editorial Board, March 26, 2021
‘Gigantic momentous decision’: California Supreme Court shrinks role of cash bail in jailings
Landmark ruling directs judges to expand use of non-jail alternatives and affordable bail, and increases burden to justify public-safety detainments
The Mercury News, By Nico Savidge and Robert Salonga, March 25, 2021
Rob Bonta named California attorney general, would be first Filipino American in role
LA Times, March 24, 2021 By Patrick Mcgreevy, Phil Willon
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday appointed Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta as California attorney general, picking a leading advocate for criminal justice reform who has campaigned to abolish the death penalty and eliminate cash bail for many offenses.
What secret files on police officers tell us about law enforcement misconduct
LA Times, By Alene Tchekmedyian, Ben Poston March 19, 2021
For years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has kept under wraps a list of deputies with records of misconduct....Now, with its hand forced by a recent state law that loosened strict privacy protections given to police, the Sheriff’s Department has released a cache of documents that provide details about dozens of deputies on the list.
How Chesa Boudin Is Pursuing His Promise To Reduce Incarceration
The Appeal, byElizabeth Weill-Greenberg, Mar 18, 2021
After more than a year in office—and despite pushback—the San Francisco DA’s policies have kept people out of jails and prisons.
Parole Trends In The Time Of COVID-19: Fewer Hearings, Fewer Approvals
Witness LA, March 16, 2021 by Taylor Walker
Only five out of 13 states actually increased the number of people granted parole during the first year of the pandemic over 2019, as COVID-19 raged through prisons and jails, infecting and killing incarcerated people and employees, data analysis by the Prison Policy Initiative revealed.
LA's top prosecutor adopted major reforms. Law enforcement is fighting to block every policy
The Guardian, by Sam Levin, Wed 10 Mar 2021
George Gascón was elected Los Angeles district attorney after promising to end “tough on crime” prosecutions, free people from overcrowded prisons and hold police accountable for misconduct.
Are Opponents Of LA’s New Reformist DA Using Crime Victims As Political Footballs? A New LA County Poll Suggests The Answer Is Yes.
Witness LA, March 8, 2021 by Celeste Fremon
In the ongoing battle between those who are in favor of the newly instituted justice reform policies of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, and those who are not, one of the main weapons used by the anti-Gascón groups — such as the local prosecutors’ union, the LA Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the California District Attorney’s Association, plus several conservative-leaning DAs in other counties — is the accusation that the DA who defeated incumbent Jackie Lacey in November 2020 has abandoned the needs of victims of crime in his rush toward reform.
CA lawmakers back legislation to expunge criminal records for those who complete their sentences
KABC 7, March 5, 2021
A group of California senators are backing SB 731, which would largely expunge or seal criminal records for those who have completed their sentences - all in an effort to help those who are trying to re-enter society.
How to help someone coming out of the criminal justice system
PBS Newshour, by Casey Kuhn, Nation Feb 26, 2021
LARRP is one of the organizations mentioned in this piece by PBS Newshour about reentry nationwide.
Sheriff’s Department reform in Antelope Valley has lagged for years, court monitors say
LA Times, By Leila Miller, Feb. 25, 2021
Myesha Lopez does not know whether the L.A. County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed her father last June is still patrolling Lancaster’s streets.
“I plead for months and to no avail. I haven’t received any information,” Lopez said. “I haven’t received condolences.”
Police Want Larry Krasner Gone, So They’re Backing His Opponent
The Intercept, Akela Lacy, February 24 2021
The Philadelphia race will test whether reformist district attorneys can survive opposition from groups that see them as a threat to the status quo.
AS LARRY KRASNER, Philadelphia’s reformist district attorney, faces his first reelection challenge, the city’s law enforcement groups have coalesced around a former homicide prosecutor whom Krasner fired when he entered office in 2018.
Editorial: What California needs in a new attorney general
By The LA Times Editorial Board
Feb. 12, 2021
California stills lacks an attorney general ready to lead a responsible and effective transformation of the criminal justice system.
Op-Ed: What two California recall efforts say about criminal justice reform
LA Times, FEB. 4, 2021. By Patrisse Cullors
They Called for Help. They’d Always Regret It
The Atlantic, Story by Sarah Shourd, Jan 30, 2021
Two families called 911 to get help for their sons. They didn’t know that they’d be thrusting them into a complex and often brutal system
As LA Moves Toward Closing Men’s Central Jail, County Supes Vote To Move Toward Building A Restorative Justice Village
WitnessLA, January 26, 2021, by Taylor Walker
Added To Fears Of Getting The Virus, Some Incarcerated People Find COVID-19 Extends Their Prison Sentences
WitnessLA, January 21, 2021, by Linsdey Van Ness
Black Lawmakers Dig Into History of Inequality in Criminal Justice System
Sacramento Observer, January 21, 2021 by CBM Newswire
Two Black lawmakers, Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) and Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), made history last month when they were both appointed Public Safety Committee chairpersons in their respective chambers of the California legislature.
....Overall, Bradford and Jones-Sawyer told members of the press, mainly from southern California, that they will concentrate on legislation that emphasizes rehabilitation, economics and education over incarceration, the closure of private prisons, and establishing a police culture that is transparent....
Ryan Gattis reveals how LA’s crime, courts and policing fuel thriller ‘The System’
Orange County Register By Liz Ohanesian, January 7, 2021
The latest book from South Los Angeles-based author Ryan Gattis is a thriller, but it also delves into the impact of incarceration.
“Incarceration is never something that simply affects one person,” says Gattis. “It affects everybody who loves them and impacts finances and everything else. It becomes a hardship, not just economically, but emotionally and even spiritually.”
These ‘rogue’ deputies were fired. So how did the Jump Out Boys win back their badges?
LA Times, By Waylon Cunningham, Jan. 1, 2021
LA Association Of Deputy District Attorneys Files New Lawsuit That Aims To Reverse Many Of DA George Gascón’s Reforms
WitnessLA, by Celeste Fremon, December 30, 2020
On Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys filed a lawsuit, along with an application for a temporary restraining order.
Prosecutors union asks courts to stop new L.A. District Attorney George Gascón’s policies
LA Daily News By Emily Rasmussen, December 30, 2020
The union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors filed a lawsuit against District Attorney George Gascón on Wednesday, Dec. 30, asking the courts to stop some of the directives he has asked prosecutors to follow.
DA Gascón's Push For Shorter Prison Terms Runs Into Resistance From Judges, Prosecutors
LAist, By Frank Stoltze, December 28, 2020
In office less than a month, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón has brought dramatic changes into the criminal courts with his progressive agenda. In his biggest move so far, he has directed prosecutors to seek shorter prison sentences for most criminal defendants by eliminating sentencing enhancements.
While winning plaudits from some quarters, the new policy has run into opposition from some of Gascón's deputy DA's and some judges. Some prosecutors reportedly are not making a forceful case to drop enhancements, and in at least a handful of cases judges have refused their requests.
Some Prisons, Local Jails Close Amid COVID-19 Spread
By Crime and Justice News, Jan 2, 2021
Former Tempe, NFL star Tank Johnson leads fight against private prisons
Cronkite News, Shane Dieffenbach, Dec 29, 2020
LOS ANGELES – Being locked up was supposed to be a punishment for Terry “Tank” Johnson. It also turned out to be an awakening.
Los Angeles County Supervisors Hire Reform-Minded New Chief To Lead LA’s Still-Troubled Probation Dept.
WitnessLA, December 22, 2020 by Celeste Fremon
After much searching, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has reportedly just hired a brand new chief to run the nation’s largest, and arguably most complicated probation department. His name is Adolfo Gonzales.
Moving LA Forward: DA Gascon's Plan For Justice Reform in Los Angeles
ARC (Anti-Recidivism Coalition) Streamed live on Dec 18, 2020
George Gascón Takes Oath Of Office And Institutes Sweeping Reforms To Transform The Largest Criminal Justice Jurisdiction In America
Dec 08, 2020
LOS ANGELES – Today, George Gascón took the oath of office and announced immediate, decisive reforms to transform America’s largest criminal justice jurisdiction. Taken together the sweeping reforms are expected to permanently change the course of California’s criminal justice system and end the era of mass incarceration in Los Angeles.
“It is time to change course and implement a system of justice that will enhance our safety and humanity,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “Today we are confronting the lie that stripping entire communities of their liberties somehow made us safer–and we’re doing it with science, research, and data. For decades those who profit off incarceration have used their enormous political influence–cloaked in the false veil of safety–to scare the public and our elected officials into backing racist policies that created more victims, destroyed budgets, and shattered our moral compass. That lie and the harm it caused ends now.”
A growing group of prosecutors, who say the job is more than locking people up, wants to help free criminals, too
Washington Post, By Tom Jackman, Dec. 7, 2020
The Pandemic Is Making Our Deadly Drug Policy Even More Lethal
Opinion: Whether you realize it or not.
SELF magazine, December 3,2020, By Kassandra Frederique
As one of the worst health crises in a century intersects with sustained uprisings for racial justice, the United States is at a perilous crossroads—and it’s easy to be distracted by superficial solutions rather than digging deeper to address the underlying issues that created these conditions.
L.A. County moves to create new juvenile justice system focused on ‘care,’ not punishment
LA Times, By Jaclyn Cosgrove, Nov. 25, 2020
After years of incremental reform, Los Angeles County is moving to dismantle the largest youth justice system in the country in favor of a “care-first” model that would look less like prison and would emphasize emotional support, counseling and treatment.
Los Angeles DA-Elect Gascón Transition Team Readies on Promise of Prosecutorial Reform
The Davis Vanguard, By Layla Mustafa
LOS ANGELES – George Gascón – set to be sworn in Dec. 7 as the 43rd Los Angeles District Attorney – publicly has released his new transition team, and those announced appear to be consistent with Gascón’s promise for prosecutorial reform in LA.
George Gascon Announces Transition Team for DA’s Office
My News LA November 18, 2020
“I was elected by the people and this community will have a seat at the table as we work to modernize our criminal justice system,” Gascon said in a written statement. “Those that have been directly impacted by the work of this office have unique insights that are integral to an effective administration.”
He noted that “our profession has largely missed the opportunity to learn from those that are justice-involved.
LA County Voted To Invest In Social Services Via Measure J. Now The Supes Must Prepare.
Witness LA, November 13, 2020 by Taylor Walker
L.A. County supervisors vote to explore options to remove Sheriff Villanueva
Editorial: Californians make an unmistakable commitment to criminal justice reform
By The Times Editorial Board, Nov. 4, 2020
Asked whether to step back following nine years of criminal justice reform, Californians on Tuesday instead took a long stride forward, rejecting stiffer punishments, restoring parolees’ voting rights and, in Los Angeles County — the state’s largest local jurisdiction — enacting a bold program to fund health-based alternatives to criminal sanctions and electing a new district attorney who campaigned on a promise to bring more equity and balance to criminal prosecutions.
Column: Millions in California voted for Trump. This is deeper than white grievance politics
LA Times, By Erika D. Smith, Columnist, Nov. 4, 2020
Drop in Jail Population Due to COVID Failed to Cut Number of Black or Mentally Ill Inmates
The analysis -- by a county taskforce charged with mapping out what would be required to close the crumbling Men's Central Jail by July 2021 -- notes that the overall county jail population is rising again after dropping by roughly one-third.
NBC 4, By Elizabeth Marcellino, November 2, 2020
District attorney race in Los Angeles County is increasingly bitter
ABC Eyewitness News, Sunday, October 11, 2020 1:44PM
A Filmmaker Who Sees Prison Life With Love and Complexity
NY Times, by Ismail Muhammad, Oct. 6, 2020
Garrett Bradley has made a documentary, “Time,” that stubbornly resists all the easy ways of thinking about incarceration in America.
Ban on chokeholds among California criminal justice reforms
ABC Eyewitness News, Thursday, October 1, 2020
Read or Watch
2020 Elections: Measure J aims to shift L.A. County law enforcement funds to community investment
Los Angeles Daily News, By Ryan Carter, October 1, 2020
Backers say it's vital in pushing back on the impact of racial injustice. Opponents say it's defunding the police.
LA County Moves Closer To Redirecting Some Emergency Response Away From Law Enforcement
WitnessLA, by Taylor Walker, September 30, 2020
Detainees at California’s for-profit ICE detention centers will soon be able to sue over abuse, harm
LA Times By Andrea Castillo, Sep. 28, 2020
Artist Highlights the Social Justice Opportunities in Prison Art
Business Deccan, By Carl Vickers, September 25, 2020
If the 2.3 million American prison population were a city, it would be the fourth largest behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, all known for very vibrant art scenes.
From Inmate to Fire Captain: How a New CA Law Can Provide a Second Chance
Spectrum News, By Daniela Pardo Sacramento, Sep. 23, 2020
Facing sheriff’s scorn, LA County leaders seek to reduce jail population
Los Angeles Daily News, By Ryan Carter, September 15, 2020
A new council will seek regular updates to make sure inmate numbers stay low — a prospect the sheriff was not happy with
Could a billionaire lose his LACMA board seat over his prison-phone investment?
LA Times, By Laurence Darmiento, Sep. 16, 2020
Activists have been pressuring Tom Gores ever since his private equity firm bought one of the nation’s largest prison phone companies.
Can America move beyond mass incarceration? (audio)
Christian Science Monitor, September 14, 2020
By Samantha Laine Perfas, Jessica Mendoza, Henry Gass
Most agree that America’s justice system is broken. But how should it be fixed? The final episode of “Perception Gaps: Locked Up” explores different paths forward.
Editorial: A strange and chaotic — and meh — year for California lawmaking
LA Times By The Times Editorial Board, Sep. 3, 2020
A good round-up on the close of session
LARRP Executive Director Appointed To The Board Of The Prison Industry Authority
August 27, 2020
Troy F. Vaughn, 56, of Corona, has been appointed to the Board of the Prison Industry Authority. Vaughn has been Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership since 2011. He has been Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Christ-Centered Ministries since 1999. Vaughn is a community-based organization representative for the Los Angeles Public Safety Realignment Team. He earned a Master of Theology degree from King’s College and Seminary and an Executive Juris Doctor degree from Concord Law School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Vaughn is a Democrat.
“Hangover” Producer Starts Nonprofit to Transition People Out of Prison
Prop 47 Five Years Later
Five years later: How a California prop changed national discourse on criminal justice reform
LA Progressive, Cari Lynn
Initially blasted by critics as a “get out of jail free card,” Prop 47 was a long-shot that even supporters deemed likely to go the way of other reform efforts: nowhere. But 47’s success has exceeded even its founders’ ideals, and is now primed to be a nationwide model for effective and humane criminal justice reform.
Editorial: California is releasing prison inmates in droves. It needs to do more to help them reenter society
By The Times Editorial Board, Aug. 5, 2020
California pioneered the criminal justice reforms that have rolled back some of the excessive and counterproductive punishments responsible for packing jails and prisons across the county in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. But it still lags in “reentry” programs, which assist inmates as they transition back to life outside a cell.
Fears grow that releasing thousands of California prisoners will spread COVID-19 into communities
LA Times, By Anita Chabria, Richard Winton, Kim Christensen
July 31, 2020
Missteps by corrections officials handling releases from state prisons are fueling fears in some California counties that thousands of inmates eligible for early release will spread the coronavirus in their communities.
Virus-Driven Push to Release Juvenile Detainees Leaves Black Youth Behind
NYTimes, By Erica L. Green, July 30, 2020
After an initial decrease in the youth detention population since the pandemic began, the rate of release has slowed, and the gap between white youth and Black youth has grown.
The report, released this month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, illustrates one more disparity the coronavirus has exacerbated for Black children, who are disproportionately funneled into the juvenile justice system.
Outbreak at San Quentin
Snap Judgement, July 23, 2020
As the Coronavirus outbreak overwhelms San Quentin State Prison, one incarcerated person, Chanthon Bun, is awaiting his release on parole. Bun tries to protect himself from the virus, while incarcerated first responders and cleaning crews attempt to treat those who are collapsing and stop the spread of COVID-19. In this episode, we hear first-hand accounts from incarcerated people inside San Quentin trying to survive the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Click here to listen to the podcast
Op-Ed: It will take a lot more than diversity training to end racial bias in hiring
LA Times, By Judd B. Kessler And Corinne Low
July 24, 20203 AM
New research shows that even companies setting pro-diversity goals exhibit discriminatory bias in hiring.
COVID Prison Release: State To Start With Non-Violent Inmates Over Age 30
SacObserver, July 15, 2020 by CBM Newswire
“We have an unprecedented moment in time to actually augment the work of prison reform and the reduction of the already overcrowded conditions that have persisted,” said Joe Paul, Managing Director of the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership and Director of Political and Civic Affairs, City of Refuge Church-L.A.
Special: Letters From The Outside As COVID Rages Inside
KALW Radio, July 8, 2020 By UNCUFFED
The COVID-19 outbreak in prisons across California is taking an incredible toll — not only on the people inside, but on the families and friends of incarcerated people. And because of the pandemic, our producers on the inside can’t access their recording equipment. So today, you’ll hear from the friends and family outside of prison, reading letters to their loved ones stuck on the inside.
COVID-19 and the need for justice reform are twinned crises
LA Daily News, Opinion, July 6, 2020
By Kelly Lytle Hernandez And Robert Ross
...Today, there are newly-urgent demands for racial justice in our health and legal systems—and at the intersection of those systems, especially in our jails. How can we protect the health of people in our overcrowded and disproportionately Black and Brown custody system? Or the health of the disproportionately Black populations of unhoused persons living on our streets? Or the disproportionately Black and Brown communities that are excessively policed? How can we end the racial disparities of the criminal legal system while building systems of well-being and care for all in our communities?...
For Advocates, $25 Million Cut To LAUSD Police Is Just The First Step. For Others, It's Already Too Much.
By Carla Javier
LAist, July 2, 2020
It's been an eventful week at the Los Angeles Unified School District.
After a 13-hour marathon meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Education voted 4-3 to reduce the $70 million school police budget by $25 million, or about 35%. Less than 24 hours later, the district's police department chief, Todd Chamberlain — who was appointed to the job in November — announced his resignation.
A glimpse at some of what’s in California’s new $202-billion state budget
By John Myers, Sacramento Bureau Chief
LA Times, June 29, 2020
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law the key provisions of a new state budget, a spending plan that seeks to erase a historic deficit while preserving service levels for schools, healthcare and social services.
Editorial: Effective sheriff oversight still a work in progress
By The LA Times Editorial Board, June 29, 2020
...At issue is whether now, at a time of growing public distrust of law enforcement, county sheriffs will be able to cling to an irresponsible and outmoded vision of unassailable power — or whether they will instead be subject to oversight...
LA County Considers Reallocating Funding from Jails to Diversion, Treatment Programs
RLN, Reporter's Desk, 06/23/2020
Los Angeles, CA—Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors backed a proposal by Supervisor Janice Hahn and coauthored by Supervisor Hilda Solis to consider reallocating funding provided to the county through AB109 from the jail system to alternatives to incarceration.
“This moment is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get away from our over-reliance on incarceration and invest in treatment and services,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who authored the motion. “We cannot police our way out of all of our problems—whether that be mental illness, or poverty, or addiction. I want to look critically at the State funding that we currently give to our jail system and see if there is a smarter way to spend this money.”
AP Exclusive: New dates set to begin federal executions
By Michael Balsamo, June 15, 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has set new dates to begin executing federal death-row inmates following a months long legal battle over the plan to resume the executions for the first time since 2003
NYTimes, The Sunday Read, Podcast
June 14, 2020, Reginald Dwayne Betts
In this episode of The Sunday Read, one man reflects on what it was like to go to prison as a child and to attempt to become an attorney upon his release. In doing so, he asks: What is punishment in America? What is it for? And how should we think about it?
To close corporate America’s inequality gap, we need to end discrimination against Black job applicants
By: Martine Cadet, June 10, 2020
Growing the LAPD was gospel at City Hall. George Floyd changed that
By James Rainey, Dakota Smith, Cindy Chang
LATimes, June 5, 2020
It has been an article of faith in Los Angeles politics for more than a quarter-century: Build the Police Department and its budget, and you will build a stronger, safer city.
Editorial: Coronavirus shows us the danger and inanity of our prison state
By The Times Editorial Board
May 29, 2020
So it’s time to ask: Why did we build and pack prisons in the first place? Why did we create institutions that are inherently unsafe and unsanitary? What kind of society clusters people together and then charges them money for hygiene?
Editorial: Freed inmates face brutal lives of poverty and homelessness.
Don’t blame coronavirus
By THE LA Times Editorial Board
May 28, 2020
Editorial: No, criminals aren’t rampaging across California because of our zero-dollar bail policy
By The Times Editorial Board
May 27, 2020
LARRP Steering Committee Member and Employment Committee Co-Chair, Maria 'Alex" Alexander, featured
Cannabis legalization revenue helps fight COVID-19 on Skid Row
Leafly, May 20, 2020
by Marissa Wenzke
Center for Living and Learning Executive Director Maria ‘Alex’ Alexander manages 18 caseworkers who see 300-500 people per year. Most of her funding comes from Proposition 64
Officials mishandled coronavirus outbreaks at Lompoc and Terminal Island prisons, lawsuits claim
LA Times, May 17, 2020
By Alex Wigglesworthstaff
The American Civil Liberties Union on Saturday filed a pair of class-action lawsuits on behalf of federal prisoners at Lompoc and Terminal Island, claiming officials mishandled coronavirus outbreaks at the facilities that have infected a combined total of 1,775 inmates, killing 10.
‘We are terrified’: Coronavirus outbreak reported at Chino women’s prison
May 17, 2020 Gabriel Valley Tribune
By Jonah Valdez
The women sat anxiously inside their prison cells at the California Institution for Women in Chino as a guard roamed about their cell block, yelling out an ominous announcement.
A knock on a cell door, the guard said, meant that they tested positive for the coronavirus. They would be told to gather their things and prepare to be isolated for an indefinite amount of days.
Screams filled the air. Women began to hurl questions at the guards.
Los Angeles needs a new approach to justice: George Gascón
Los Angeles Daily News, May 16, 2020
By George Gascon
Let Our People Go
A letter from inside Marion Correctional Institution is the voice of those locked in cages and discarded during this pandemic.
NYTimes, May 13, 2020
By Michelle Alexander, Contributing Opinion Writer
California’s Jail Population Has Plummeted during COVID-19
PPIC, May 8, 2020
Joseph Hayes, Heather Harris
When the COVID-19 crisis began, state and county governments recognized that overcrowded jail conditions could pose unacceptable health risks for inmates and staff. As the crisis has unfolded, all counties have taken steps to decrease their jail populations. Some have made steeper reductions than others, and some of the measures that have facilitated these reductions—reducing pretrial detention and setting bail at zero for many crimes—may have longer-term significance as California considers whether to eliminate money bail.
3 more inmates die at Chino prison as coronavirus infections continue to spread
LA Times, May 8, 2020
By Richard Winton, staff writer
As an outbreak of the coronavirus continues to rage inside the California Institution for Men in Chino, three more inmates at the prison have died, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Friday.
Authorities nationwide are reporting an uptick in fatal opioid overdoses during social distancing.
The Daily Beast, May. 03
Kate Briquelet,Senior Reporter
Authorities nationwide are reporting an uptick in fatal opioid overdoses during social distancing.
People freed from prison during coronavirus may face big risks on the outside
The Conversation, April 27, 2020
by Daina StanleyI strongly support humane measures to reduce the risks to incarcerated individuals, correctional and medical workers and communities. But historical injustices, systemic inequalities and harsh criminal justice ideologies and practices often create barriers to safe community re-entry, particularly for the most vulnerable individuals in prisons.
My research highlights complexities that must be confronted before individuals can be safely released to the community. I have seen far too many individuals released from custody — often despite the best efforts of correctional caseworkers — to precarious circumstances.
The Coronavirus Is Hitting Our Nation's Prisons and Jails Hard.
And It's Exposing a Crisis That Existed Long Before the Outbreak
Time Magazine, April 22, 2020
By Joyce White Vance
The news from the nation’s prisons and jails is increasingly grim. On Sunday, there were reports that 1,828 people incarcerated at Marion County Correctional Facility in Ohio, 73% of its total population, have tested positive for COVID-19. One staff member has died and another 109 have tested positive. Similar reports are coming in from federal and state facilities across the country. But this crisis in our criminal justice system isn’t due to the coronavirus. Rather, the pandemic is exposing a pre-existing crisis in our prisons that we are long overdue to fix.
New Data: Second Chance Pell Continues to Open Doors for More Students
The Vera Institute's Think Justice Blog, April 21, 2020
By Margaret diZerega and Ruth-Delaney
Amid Pandemic, State Releases Thousands of Prisoners — But Will They Have Support at Home?
KQED By Marisa Lagos
April 13, 2020
By the end of today, the state will have released 3,500 nonviolent offenders early from state prison, and local jails have already let thousands more low-level inmates go — but advocates for prisoners are worried that those coming home amid a global pandemic won’t have the tools to succeed and stay healthy.
Let’s make sure that coronavirus doesn’t make hiring inequality even worse
Cal Matters, By Jessica Quintana
April 11, 2020
California Makes Major Bail Change To Slow The Spread Of Coronavirus In Jails
Preventing Community Spread of COVID-19 in Sites like Jails and Emergency Shelter
Why Jails Are So Important in the Fight Against Coronavirus
Coronavirus Pandemic: Santa Rita Jail Inmate Tests Positive; 77 New Cases In Alameda County
L.A. County presented with ambitious plan to change its justice system to system of care
CalMatters, by Kelly Lytle
Arizona Dept. of Corrections whistleblower discusses health risks of working in prison during pandemic
California’s State Juvenile Justice Agency Freezes New Detention Commitments
Why Hasn’t the Number of People in U.S. Jails Dropped?
Historic County-Community Partnership Takes The Vote Behind Bars In LA County
How Jackie Lacey’s and George Gascón’s time in office shapes the L.A. County D.A.'s race
Florida loses appeals court ruling on felon voting law
Debating Measure R:
5 arrested in $3.2 million Southern California sober living home fraud scheme
Sacramento Kings and Incarcerated Individuals Come Together For First NBA 'Play For Justice' Event at Folsom State Prison
2019 was the year L.A. County finally said ‘no’ to new jails
LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board
Dec. 26, 2019
California Is Letting Thousands of Prisoners Out Early. Its Housing Crisis Is Keeping Them From Starting Over.
Where Prisons Are A Last Resort
Appeals Court Upholds California’s Revamped Felony-Murder Accomplice Law
Los Angeles unveils first ever bridge housing project for trans women
Voter Registration Outreach - Getting Inside California Jails
Criminal justice reform targets court fines, fees
Parolees Help Battle Saddleridge Fire as Part of New Reentry Program in Ventura County
How Far Will California Take Criminal-Justice Reform?
Read the Story
A Visit with My (incarcerated) Mother
I Host a Popular Podcast. I’m Also in Prison.
September 26,2019, Rahsaan Thomas
Contra Costa to consider waiving certain court fees
September 13, 2019, By Annie Sciacca
The moratorium would include probation report fees, public defenders’ fees and fees for alternative custody programs such as electronic monitoring and work alternatives to jail. Fees would be waived for everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
Los Angeles County Votes To Stop Construction Of New Jail-Like Facility, Adding Momentum To National Abolition Movement
California Governor Promises More Changes to “Biased, Random” Justice System
Restoring Pell Grants To Prisoners Benefits Us All
Detroit Free Press
August 16, 2019, Greg Handel and Margaret diZerega
Reentry and Opportunity Center Improves Outcomes for Probation Clients
Why Los Angeles Could Be the Setting for the ‘Most Important D.A. Race’ in the U.S.
In Los Angeles, only people of color are sentenced to death
LA County Supes Expand Innovative Program Proven To Break The Wash, Rinse, Repeat Pattern Of Mental Illness, Incarceration, And Homelessness
Counties rarely collect fees imposed on those formerly jailed. So why keep charging them?
How Private Equity Is Turning Public Prisons Into Big Profits
21 more studies showing racial disparities in the criminal justice system
The Washington Post, April 9
By Radley Balko, Opinion writer
First major drug distribution company, former executives, criminally charged in opioid crisis
California Death Penalty Suspended; 737 Inmates Get Stay of Execution
NYTimes, By Tim Arango
March 12, 2019
Gavin Newsom’s death penalty moratorium could turn the abolitionist tide in California
By THE LA TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD
MAR 13, 2019
The Case for Expunging Criminal Records
Fed Up With Probation’s Ongoing Failure To Spend Juvenile Justice $ Millions On Proven Programs For LA County’s Kids, The Supes Make A Radical Move
Teaching in America’s prisons has taught me to believe in second chances
More mothers are ending up behind bars. Meeting the needs of their children is becoming a bigger priority
The next step for justice reform: Ending the ban on federal Pell Grants for eligible students behind bars
The Hill, 03/20/19
Police accountability in Los Angeles is heading backwards
1.5 million felons can now vote in Florida because of these men
California must double-down on prison rehabilitation
CALMatters Guest Commentary | Feb. 24, 2019 | By Adnan Khan
The State Auditor recently issued an audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s in-prison rehabilitation programs with a conclusion that these programs did not reduce recidivism rates. Read more
Anti-recidivism efforts falling short, audit says
Report suggests state prisons aren’t meeting ambitious goals on inmate rehabilitation.
Why California’s Default Mental Institutions Are Now Jails and Prisons
Justice Not Jails, Feb. 8, 2019 By Jocelyn Wiener
Read the article
Pepper Spray Is Used Too Often To 'Subdue Youth' In LA's Juvenile Justice System
Black women punished for self-defense must be freed from their cages
The Guardian, Thu 3 Jan 2019
Black women have always been vulnerable to violence in the US. We have to address the systemic and cultural issues that contribute to this...
Read the article
How the FIRST STEP Act Became Law - and What Happens Next
The making of a historic criminal justice reform bill
Brennan Center for Justice, January 4, 2019
Ames Grawert, Tim Lau
Last month, the FIRST STEP Act was signed into law - a major win for the movement to end mass incarceration. Read the article
Jerry Brown Becomes Most Forgiving Governor In Modern CA History
By CALmatters, News Partner | Dec 27, 2018
In keeping with eight years of holiday tradition, Gov. Jerry Brown issued 143 pardons this week. Since 2011, he has pardoned 1,332 inmates.
Prop. 47 spared offenders from prison, but they may find county jail harsher
San Francisco Chronicle Nov. 23, 2018, By Kerry Rudd
Why Is Karl Taylor Dead?
Our prisons are our mental wards. One fatal case in New York shows where that can lead.
The Marshall Project, By TOM ROBBINS, November 27, 2018
The Scanner: Alameda County to drop criminal justice fees; the problem with pot DUIs
In historic upset, Alex Villanueva beats incumbent Jim McDonnell in race for Los Angeles County sheriff
LA Times| NOV 26, 2018 | By MAYA LAU
Women Ignored in Incarceration Reform
Justice Not Jails, October 21, 2018
Women are the fastest-growing population in U.S. jails, but the effect this has on families has been largely ignored, a New York conference was told Wednesday.
Implementing long-term, meaningful solutions for women and families remain too few and far between, experts said at a three-person panel unveiling a new initiative aimed at reforming criminal justice system to better serve women.
The renewed fortunes and the hidden history of the for-profit prison industry.
Jim Crow’s Lasting Legacy At The Ballot Box
The Marshall Project
JENNIFER RAE TAYLOR 08.20.2018
Denying voting rights to people with felony convictions has roots in racist laws.
How young is too young for jail? California doesn't have an answer, but it should
LATimes Editorial Board, AUG 11, 2018
When is someone too young to go to jail? Even if it’s a juvenile jail or a so-called probation camp, surely such institutions are not the right place for 8-year-olds, no matter what crimes they may have committed. But how old is old enough? Is it 9? 10? What’s the age threshold for jail?
No, Prop 47 didn't de-criminalize misdemeanors
by THE LA TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD, JUL 18, 2018
Prisoners who risk their lives during Calif. wildfires shouldn't be shut out of profession
Katherine Katcher, Sonja Tonnesen and Neeraj Kumar, Opinion contributors Nov. 3, 2017
They are skilled. They sacrifice for $1 per hour. But once inmates finish their sentence, laws bar them from the job
To build, or not to build, a new L.A. County jail
By THE LATIMES EDITORIAL BOARD, June 16, 2018
Hundreds of people pack the Hollywood United Methodist Church on this blustery January evening to hear from Johnson and other leaders of JusticeLA, a group formed to fight what members are calling the planned expansion of the Los Angeles County jail system. Read more
04/21/2018 Asha Bandele of the Drug Policy Alliance interview on MIC:
"Prince could still be alive today if America didn’t shame people for using drugs." Asha talks about some of the things learned on a recent trip to Portugal. Members of LARRP were on that trip.
Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs. Now something's being done.
NBC News May 26, 2018
Half the states bar ex-cons from getting the occupational licences they need to re-enter the workforce. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say it doesn't make sense. Read more
Los Angeles Activists Join Delegation to Portugal March 19-22 to Learn from Country’s Groundbreaking Drug Decriminalization Policy
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: March 19 – 22
CONTACT: Troy Vaughn, firstname.lastname@example.org
Voter Registration Makes Inroads in Unexpected Territory: County Jails
LA Times, FEB 26, 2018
By MICHAEL LIVINGSTON
Vice News Tonight Features LARRP, Drug Policy Alliance, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Public Defenders Office Expungement Clinic
Don't Stop Now:
California Leads the Nation in Using Public Higher Education to Address Mass Incarceration - Will We Continue?
Scores of Californians have spent the past three years laboring to accomplish the unprecedented: bringing together our enormous criminal justice and public higher education systems to build a new generation of college students and graduates.
The reasons why are clear - higher education reduces recidivism, changes lives, and builds stronger communities. We can no longer consign incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women to ending their education with a GED; they, like all of us, deserve the opportunities that hard work and a college degree create.
This summary is in not exhaustive. Instead, we wanted to share a few media clips that illustrate the narrative we’ve been in over the past few years.
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