NEWS ARCHIVE 2022-2023

LARRP posts relevant news and articles in this section.

Please send us anything you think we might have missed so we can post it!

DOJ Calls on States To Eliminate Juvenile System Fines and Fees

The Imprint, By Sara Tiano 1/17/2024

Describing people trapped “in a cycle of poverty and punishment that can be nearly impossible to escape,” federal justice officials are calling on states to eliminate fines and fees that parents have to pay when their children get in trouble with the law.

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Gascón to face 11 challengers in primary

By City News Service Los Angeles, Dec. 31, 2023

LOS ANGELES — District Attorney George Gascón will face 11 challengers in the March 5 primary election, including five members of his office and two Los Angeles County Superior Court judges.

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How Biden Can Tackle Mass Incarceration

NYTimes Opinion, By Michael Romano, Dec. 29, 2023

As a candidate, Joe Biden said he would substantially reduce the federal prison population as president. Last week he commuted the sentences of 11 people who he said were serving unjustifiably harsh prison terms for drug offenses and also pardoned people convicted of certain marijuana charges. Still, the number of people in federal prison has grown during the Biden administration. Despite historical bipartisan support for sentencing reform, Mr. Biden has failed to fully embrace the momentum of his two immediate predecessors...

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New law has Californians with criminal records ‘quite hopeful’ they’ll finally find housing

LA Times By Liam Dillon, Ben Poston, Dec. 27, 2023

In 2021, four years after finishing her last jail term and living in transitional housing in Riverside County, Erica Smith was ready for a permanent home.

Soon, Smith will have more opportunities for housing, courtesy of a new state law. Assembly Bill 1418, which takes effect Jan. 1, will ban local governments across California from enforcing crime-free housing policies.

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How Often Do Inmates Actually Return To Prison? It’s Unclear.
States define recidivism differently, which can result in misleading interpretations of the statistics.

Stateline, Dec. 27, 2023 • Amanda Hernández

Several states this year have reported lower rates of recidivism, showing that fewer convicted criminals are being re-arrested after leaving prison.

But those statistics hardly tell the full story. Recidivism rates across the country can vary greatly because of how they’re defined, how the data is collected and how it’s presented to the public. So it can be difficult to say that, for example, one state is doing better than another in rehabilitating formerly incarcerated residents.

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Column: In L.A., a new vision of incarceration proves rehabilitation works

LA Times By Anita Chabria Columnist, Photography By Francine Orr, Dec. 26, 2023

What does something different look like when your whole life, this is all you’ve known?

By the time he was 42 and staring down two more decades in prison, Eric Acosta knew all the wrong things, and this question began clawing at the corners of his mind.

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After years-long fight, ex-sheriff agrees to comply with subpoenas, testify on deputy gangs

LA Times by Keri Blakinger, Staff Writer , Dec. 26, 2023

The change of heart comes days after a county judge scheduled a hearing to decide whether to order the former sheriff, who is running for county supervisor against incumbent Janice Hahn, to comply with the commission’s subpoenas.

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In L.A. District Attorney Race, Rhetoric Shifts From Reform to Fear
George Gascón is running for re-election in a very different climate, where concerns about crime have overtaken demands for equity and accountability.

By Tim Arango and Ana Facio-Krajcer Reporting from Los Angeles, Dec. 25, 2023

Three years ago, George Gascón rode a wave of collective outrage following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis to become district attorney of Los Angeles by promising to make the criminal justice system fairer and, most crucially, to rein in the police.

Now, to win re-election and stay in office, Mr. Gascón will need to tap into a different type of emotion: fear

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Ending Solitary Confinement Requires Cultural Shifts –

Part 3 Of A 3-Part Series
WitnessLA, December 31, 2023 by Chandra Bozelko

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case of Michael Johnson, a man confined to a solitary cell twenty-four hours per day, who was held in solitary confinement at Pontiac Correctional Center, a prison two hours from Chicago.

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Part 2

Part 1

The Real Culprit In The Overuse Of Solitary Confinement: Prison Disciplinary Systems

Part 2 Of A 3-Part Series
Witness LA, December 24, 2023 by Chandra Bozelko

Among the obstacles to doing away with the practice (which those who have experienced it, including the late Senator John McCain, describe as torture) is the fact that we won’t empty restricted housing units unless we reform the way that people enter them: the prison disciplinary system.

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A spare room and a big heart’: Reentry program pairs formerly incarcerated people with willing homeowners

By Daniel Lempres, San Francisco Chronicle,  Dec 25, 2023

Philippe Kelly knew finding a place to live after prison would make or break his return to society.

“To become free, you have to have somewhere to go,” said Kelly, 37, who entered prison in 2001 for a fatal Los Angeles shooting he committed when he was 15. “Homelessness is definitely one of the reasons why recidivism with certain types of incarcerated folks is high.”

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LA County Supervisors Call For More Data Collection, Staff Searches, And Treatment Programs To Stop Jail Overdose Deaths

WitnessLA, December 22, 2023 by Taylor Walker

On Tuesday, December 19, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion aimed at reducing overdose deaths in LA County jails.

In their motion, Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn note that each year between 2018 and 2022, an average of 37.8 people died in the jails. Approximately 20 percent of those people died due to an overdose, according to the coroner’s office. At least 46 people have died in LA County jails in 2023, so far.

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What Now with Trevor Noah

December 20, 2023

Trevor sits down with Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass on the anniversary of her first year in office. In 2022, Bass upset a well-financed opponent to win the election and return to the city where her activism began. Mayor Bass discusses her work as a high school student on Bobby Kennedy’s campaign, why she cut a London trip short because of Angela Davis, LA’s homeless crisis, and whether she’d ever run for President.

LISTEN Now (Interview begins about 11 minutes in)

Seeking redemption: A death row inmate’s journey into L.A. County’s largest psych ward

LA Times, By Thomas Curwen, Photography by Irfan Khan, Dec. 13, 2023

The yelling surprised no one. Yet still Craigen Armstrong was concerned.

Ray was always acting out. This time he had just come back from medical and was standing at the glass wall, screaming at the sheriff’s deputies on the other side. He was furious, accusing one of them of sleeping with his wife.

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New Laws Part 5 – Crime And Courts

Witness LA, December 12, 2023 by Taylor Walker

This fall, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed and vetoed hundreds of bills. As the new year draws closer, we move to the next part in our series sharing the fates of noteworthy justice-related bills that made it to the governor’s desk in 2023.

Earlier stories in this series looked at bills addressing conditions of incarceration in California, policing issuesyouth justice, and assistance for crime survivors. In this latest story, we’ll look at bills related to crime and the court system.

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Cities Embrace Civilian-Led Public Safety Solutions

Vera, by Nazish Dholakia Senior Writer, Dec 12, 2023

Albuquerque, N.M., and Richmond, Calif., are among cities across the U.S. piloting new initiatives—and working to create safer communities.

Albuquerque Community Safety’s creation is part of a recent nationwide push to develop and invest in proactive and non-punitive solutions that can reduce violence and promote safety. More than half of the 48 centralized government offices of violence prevention or neighborhood safety currently in operation were established since 2020, and at least 10 more are in the works, according to Vera’s recent report, Coordinating Safety: Building and Sustaining Offices of Violence Prevention and Neighborhood Safety. According to the report, these offices, which can serve as the hub for a city or county’s public safety services, “have the potential to radically transform governmental approaches to public safety.”

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Newsom's Push for Mental Health Treatment

Fox News, Elex Michaelson, Dec 9, 2023

After a year in office, L.A. County sheriff talks deputy gangs, jail deaths, overdoses

By Keri Blakinger , Dec. 10, 2023

By the time Sheriff Robert Luna ousted his predecessor and became L.A. County’s top cop in late 2022, the nation’s largest sheriff’s department was awash in controversy.

A year later, many of those problems remain unresolved — and critics say the new sheriff has little to show for his time in office. The department has yet to ban deputy gang tattoos, and the courts have stymied efforts to identify the gangs’ alleged members. County data show roughly 20% of sworn positions are effectively vacant, jail death rates are soaring and, in June, the county only narrowly avoided a contempt hearing over conditions inside its lockups.

Still, the signs of change are unmistakable. Read More

L.A. County is launching CARE Court. Here’s what to expect

LA Times, By Jaclyn Cosgrove, Thomas Curwen, Nov. 30, 2023

The L.A. County Department of Mental Health, first responders, family members, roommates or spouses will be able to petition the court to start the process of enrolling someone into the state-funded program.

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California prisoners could get higher wages under new plan — but still less than $1 an hour

LATimes, By Anabel Sosa, Nov. 26, 2023

For the first time in 30 years, the California prison system plans to nearly double most hourly wages for incarcerated workers... The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s proposal calls for eliminating all unpaid work assignments and reducing hours for most prison workers from full-time jobs to half time. Prison officials argue that higher wages will have several benefits, including making it easier for inmates to pay back the money they owe for damage from their crimes. Fifty-five percent of inmates’ wages go toward restitution costs, according to the Department of Corrections.

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A woman was jailed for shoplifting. Weeks later, her mother got back a decaying corpse

LA Times, By Keri Blakinger, Nov. 26, 2023

Bews had been arrested on a pair of misdemeanor charges, and died in a Los Angeles County jail two days later. But the officer who showed up at her door couldn’t tell Bettencourt anything about how her daughter died.

And a few weeks later, no one could explain what had happened to the rotting body Bettencourt saw at the funeral home.

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Guest Commentary: LA County’s Bail Policy Doesn’t Threaten Public Safety

Davis Vanguard by By Aaron Littman, Alicia Virani, Nicholas Shapiro, November 22, 2023

As UCLA professors with a wealth of research between us on bail, jails, and incarceration, we have dedicated our careers to seeking better ways to keep our communities safe: running pretrial justice clinics, analyzing nearly a decade of deaths in Los Angeles jails, and collecting and analyzing data in prisons, jails, youth facilities, and immigration detention centers across the United States. Our work has revealed the tremendous injustice of a system that allows the wealthy to buy their freedom and leaves the poor in jail to suffer violence, trauma, and too often death.

The first batch of data from the Los Angeles Superior Court on the new bail protocols shows “undeniable public safety benefits” – only 3.5 percent of people arrested in the first three weeks of the new policy were rearrested. Half of those rearrests were of people released on traditional money bail—among cases that went through magistrate review, a mere two people were rebooked.

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Video shows deputies repeatedly punching man in headlock during violent arrest in East L.A.

LATimes, By Nathan Solis, Nov. 21, 2023

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies put a man in a headlock and repeatedly punched him in the head outside his home in East Los Angeles, according to his family.

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George Gascón Discusses Crime in LA

Davis Vanguard,Everyday Injustice Podcast Episode 226, November 20, 2023

Having survived multiple recall attempts in his first term, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón officially launched his reelection in October at the SEIU Local 2015 office in front of a room full of supporters—many of them health care workers.

Watch

 

The BSCC Takes A New Look At Los Padrinos & Barry J Juvenile Halls, And Finds Them “Out Of Compliance” 22 Times

Witness LA, November 20, 2023 by Celeste Fremon

So, what do BSCC inspectors think now, nearly six months after the May 23, 2023, unsuitable vote? Has there been a measurable improvement?

This past Tuesday, Sept. 14, the BSCC had its every-other-month meeting, where the BSCC inspectors delivered their report to the board, and anyone else in attendance, either in person or virtually. And the news wasn’t all that cheering.

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Something Wonderful Is Happening in American Prisons. Really.

NY Times Guest Essay by Nov. 17, 2023

A change taking place right now has the potential to do more good within U.S. prisons than any policy in a generation — good that will extend far beyond the realm of criminal justice. With a 2020 law finally taking full effect, people who are incarcerated can for the first time in decades get Pell Grants, the federal tuition aid for low-income students.

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Chaos At Los Padrinos Youth Hall—While Drug Investigative Team Is Still Removed From Duty

WitnessLA November 15, 2023 by Celeste Fremon

This month, conditions appear to be going from bad to worse at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall.

LP—as the Downey-located youth facility is known for short—is where, in July of this year, LA County Probation moved approximately 300 young people who are in probation’s care, in order to get those youth out of the county’s other two highly troubled youth facilities, Central Juvenile Hall, and Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall.

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Unsealed surveillance videos show violence against inmates inside L.A. County jails

La Times, By Keri Blakinger, Maria L. La Ganga, Nov. 10, 2023

In one video, a jailer kneels on an inmate’s neck. In another, two deputies slam a man’s head into a wall. In yet another, two jailers punch a handcuffed inmate repeatedly — even after he’s fallen to the ground.

A new trove of surveillance videos from inside the Los Angeles County jails offers a rare view of the culture of violence that has persisted behind bars despite a decades-long federal lawsuit and years of jail oversight.

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Zero Bail Working? Data appears to show early success

The LAist, By Yusra Farzan, October 30, 2023

The Los Angeles Superior Court released data Monday challenging criticisms of the new zero bail system for certain detainees.

On Oct. 1, Los Angeles Superior Court’s new bail system, or Pre-Arraignment Release Protocols (PARP), went into effect. The policy that eliminates bail for those deemed a low risk to the public or for nonviolent and other felonies and misdemeanors has largely been criticized by law enforcement officials, including L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna and LAPD Chief Michael Moore, as being to soft on crime

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Elections are Warped by Prison Gerrymandering Year After Year

How lawmakers miscount incarcerated people on the census and distort ballots

Vera institute of Justice, Sam McCann, Nov 06, 2023

In the vast majority of states, voters will be casting their ballots in legislative maps misshapen—sometimes dramatically—by prison gerrymandering, the practice of counting incarcerated people where they are detained, rather than in their actual homes. This method has been used since the first U.S. census in 1790. While this practice has always been unjust, the explosion of racialized mass incarceration over the past decades has exacerbated its impact.

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New Laws Part 1: Conditions Inside Prisons And Jails

Witness LA, October 30, 2023 by Taylor Walker

During the first two weeks of October, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed and rejected the last of hundreds of bills state legislators sent to his desk.

Today, and over the next two weeks, we’ll look at some of the noteworthy bills Newsom signed — or vetoed — starting with bills that address conditions inside California’s prisons and jails.

The first bill, AB 353, addresses what bill author Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) says are “inhumane and cruel” conditions inside prisons regarding personal hygiene.

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Los Angeles County Launches D.O.O.R.S Program to Aid Reentry for Justice-Involved Individuals in Antelope Valley

Hoodline, By Gabriela Martinez, October 28, 2023

Los Angeles County has launched the Developing Opportunities and Offering Re-Entry Solutions (D.O.O.R.S.) Community Reentry Center, a virtual program to aid justice-involved individuals reenter society. The program, announced by the L.A. County Justice, Care, and Opportunities Department (JCOD), provides housing, employment, legal, and educational support in the Antelope Valley region. The official launch is scheduled for November 2.

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L.A. County Justice, Care and Opportunities Department Launches Support Center and Justiceconnect.org Website Focused on Resources for Justice Involved Individuals

The Los Angeles Post, October 25, 2023

Pretrial services are now available through new call center 1-833-LAC-JCOD and website Justiceconnect.org

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Justice, Care and Opportunities Department (JCOD) has launched a first-of-its-kind pretrial services support center and website to help justice involved individuals navigate the justice system.

As of October 1st, the new JCOD Support Center is receiving calls at 1-833-LAC-JCOD or 1-833-522-5263 available 7 days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. for justice involved individuals, their families, and the community. The Support Center can facilitate connections to a wide range of resources, including court reminders, warm handoffs to care management providers for connections to local services, and transportation assistance to housing, court appearances, probation/parole, and childcare necessary for court appearances.

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Cash Bail Reform in Los Angeles Proving Very Difficult to Put into Place

The Davis Vanguard by By The Vanguard Staff, October 25, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA – It turns out the long awaited cash bail reform in Los Angeles that supposedly took effect Oct. 1 isn’t exactly in place just yet, after a ruling by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge this week.

The judge ruled a court order barring the city and county of LA from using the new system is still in place, meaning the entities cannot begin the long-awaited justice reform, according to a story in Courthouse News.

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Family Trauma of Prison System Profiled in New Film About Chesa Boudin

Hollywood Progressive by Steven Rosenfeld Oct 24, 2023

Beyond Bars is a film about mass incarceration told through one person’s long struggle to challenge and change the system.

In 2019, I and other San Francisco residents witnessed Chesa Boudin’s surprising election to district attorney as a candidate whose life experience was shaped by the trauma of being a child of incarcerated parents. As an adult, he vowed to try to do something about the shame and violence inflicted by the prison system on families.

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LA Premiere December 14, 2023

Youth Living At Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall Overdoses Twice On Fentanyl, As Investigators Working To Get Lethal Drugs Out Of Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall Are Relieved Of Duty

Witness LA, October 24, 2023, by Celeste Fremon

While it is very good news that the young man survived, the fact that he was able to acquire the death-dealing substance, makes clear that someone (or several someones) is bringing the drug into the Downey-located youth facility.

Moreover, the double overdose by the young man residing at Los Padrinos is not the only bad news having to do with the struggle to get deadly narcotics out of the county’s youth facilities.

Earlier this month, on October 4, three of probation’s in-house investigators who have reportedly made measurable progress in locating the sources of the fentanyl that has continued to show up all year in Barry J Nidorf Juvenile Hall—and now LP—have been removed from duty and sent home on an “ordered absence,” for reasons that are still unclear.

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Family Trauma of Prison System Profiled in New Film About Chesa Boudin

Hollywood Progressive by Steven Rosenfeld Oct 24, 2023

Beyond Bars is a film about mass incarceration told through one person’s long struggle to challenge and change the system.

In 2019, I and other San Francisco residents witnessed Chesa Boudin’s surprising election to district attorney as a candidate whose life experience was shaped by the trauma of being a child of incarcerated parents. As an adult, he vowed to try to do something about the shame and violence inflicted by the prison system on families.

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LA Premiere December 14, 2023

Prop 47-funded programs to reduce recidivism find success

Public News Service by Suzanne Potter, October 19, 2023

New data show that a Los Angeles County program to help people reintegrate into society after incarceration is significantly reducing crime - a program funded by Proposition 47. The program and others like it are funded by Proposition 47 - passed in 2014 - which reduced felonies to misdemeanors for certain low-level drug and property crimes, and put the savings toward crime reduction.

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California is reinventing how it deals with mental illness. Now the locals have to make it work

LA Times, By Thomas Curwen, Oct. 12, 2023

Earlier this year, when Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out the agenda for his second term, he made clear his ambition to reform the state’s behavioral health system. By signing into law on Tuesday an expansion of conservatorship criteria, and then approving a ballot measure on Thursday to increase funding for housing and health services, he has come closer to achieving his goal.

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Newsom vetoes $1 billion fund for troubled LA County juvenile halls, camps

Pasadena Star News, By Jason Henry, October 9, 2023

Governor cites 'revenue uncertainty' as reason for his denial, which was applauded by juvenile justice reformers. Juvenile justice reform advocates applauded Newsom’s decision, as they see the bill as a waste of taxpayer resources and maintain that problems at the juvenile halls have nothing to do with the physical structures.

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Solitary Confinement Reform And Other Bills May Get A Second Chance In 2024

Witness LA, October 3, 2023 by Taylor Walker

Set aside for next year

This year, 2023, is the first year in the current two-year legislative term. Thus, legislators could set aside bills facing steep opposition this year, and pick them back up in 2024, when they may have a better chance of passing and earning the governor’s signature.

Facing a likely veto from Governor Newsom, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) held AB 280, a bill to restrict the use of solitary confinement in prisons and jails, so that it can be taken up again next year.

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LA County approves $3.4 billion supplemental budget plan

2Urban Girls, By City News Service, October 3, 2023

The new funding will be used to add 667 staff positions, bringing the county’s overall workforce to 115,324, Davenport said. Of the new positions, the largest number — 167 — will be allocated to the Department of Mental Health, largely to expand services to the homeless as the county works to clear encampments by moving people into housing and treatment. She noted that more than 30 positions will be spread across various departments to shift people with the highest mental-health needs out of jail and into treatment settings.

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L.A. County offers 3,000 new mental health and substance use treatment beds in bid to end lawsuit

By Doug Smith, Sept. 26, 2023
Facing the prospect of a trial neither side wanted, Los Angeles County and the plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking more homeless services have proposed a settlement that appears to meet the demands of a federal judge who twice rejected earlier agreements.

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Editorial: Chief Moore and other bail reform critics are wrong. Cash bail should not be a form of punishment

The LA Times Editorial Board,September 25, 2023

The punishment in Moore’s equation applies only to people without money. The second problem is that the Constitution forbids punishment before conviction. A police accusation cannot, by itself, be transformed into evidence and then magically turn into proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A system that imposes punishment based on arrest, before the accused has an opportunity to present a defense in court, is tyranny.

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Editorial: Goodbye to cash bail. L.A. is moving to a better approach to pretrial justice

By the LA Times Editorial Board, Sept. 24, 2023

In one week, the system for handling most people after they’re arrested in Los Angeles County changes, finally giving L.A. a safer and more just approach to the pretrial process.

The current regimen — pay money bail at the police station without a hearing or go to jail — is to be replaced for most suspects.

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You think you know what bail is? You’re probably wrong

BY THE LA Times Editorial Board, Sept. 24, 2023

Suppose you are arrested for stealing a car. You’ll be brought to the police station, where the officer on duty will tell you the price for your release. Under the 2022 version of the Los Angeles Superior Court felony bail schedule, a violation of the California Penal Code Section commonly known as grand theft auto, you must come up with $35,000 in order to go home.

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Editorial: Why skeptical Californians should rethink cash reparations for slavery

LA Times Editorial Board. SEPT. 17, 2023

Black Californians have suffered discrimination in education, employment, healthcare, the criminal justice system and in housing, which has translated into a devastating lack of generational wealth.

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A Fight Over Funding Alternatives To Incarceration While The LA County Jails’ Death Toll Continues To Rise

Witness LA, September 16, 2023 by Taylor Walker

On Tuesday, September 12, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to set aside $88 million in Measure J funding for alternatives to incarceration meant to help the county shut down the dangerous and dungeon-like Men’s Central Jail.

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The L.A. City Council is looking to expand. Getting there could take nine years

LA Times, By David Zahniser, Sept. 13, 2023

For much of the past year, Los Angeles political leaders have been laying the groundwork for a potentially seismic change in city government: increasing the size of the City Council for the first time in a century.

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Criminal Record Expungement Clinics Benefit 1 Million+ in CA

Public News Sercice by Suzanne Potter, Producer, September 5, 2023

One year ago, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 731, a law that allows more than a million Californians to clear many old felony convictions from their records. Now, expungement clinics across the state are helping speed that process along.

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California debates solitary confinement in local jails — and whether it’s really possible to end it

LATimes, By Hannah Wiley, Keri Blakinger, Aug. 31, 2023

Across more than 120 jails in California’s 58 counties, conditions behind bars can vary wildly... But there’s one thing California’s local lockups have in common: prisoners who spend weeks, months or even years in isolation without any meaningful human contact or rehabilitation.

Assemblymember Chris Holden is trying to change that. The Pasadena Democrat introduced Assembly Bill 280 this year to limit “segregated confinement”— what is colloquially known as “solitary.”

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Hearing Friday on Bill to Halt Restitution Fines for Juvenile Crime

Public News Service, Suzanne Potter, August 31, 2023

A bill will be heard in the State Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow that would stop requiring youths convicted of a crime to pay restitution, and change how victims are made whole.

Assembly Bill 1186 would instead make those crime survivors eligible for financial assistance through the California Victims Compensation Board.

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From ‘mission accomplished’ to riot: Inside the chaotic first month at Los Padrinos

BY Rebecca Ellis, James Queally, Aug. 27, 2023

Nine days after Los Angeles County’s top probation official declared “mission accomplished” for transferring nearly 300 youths into the reopened Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, police and news helicopters were circling the facility.

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LA City Council approves LAPD contract designed to improve hiring and retention

LA Daily News By Linh Tat, August 23, 2023

The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-3 on Wednesday, Aug. 23, to ratify a contract with the city’s police officers that would bump up their starting salaries by nearly 13% and provide annual base raises of 3%. Taken together with additional bonuses, officers covered by the contract will get a 4% to 6% wage increase each year for four years.

Mayor Karen Bass and those who support the contract say the heavy investment is critical for retaining and recruiting officers in the Los Angeles Police Department, which has seen its numbers dwindle over the years.

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LA County jails will never get better if we don’t intervene now

Daily Trojan, By Quynh Anh Nguyen, August 22, 2023

One of the cruelest jail systems in the nation is right under our noses, but why hasn’t it improved after a 50-year legal battle?

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Guest Commentary: The Transformative Journey – Embracing the Voices of Successful Reentry

Davis vanguard, August 2023, by Rodney Wrice

In the intricate landscape of reentry from incarceration, a profound story of transformation unfolds—a story that can only be truly understood by those who have lived it. The significance of involving individuals who have successfully emerged from the darkness of incarceration to the light of reintegration cannot be overstated. Their experiences, marked by resilience and hard-won growth, hold within them the potential to illuminate the path towards effective rehabilitation and lasting societal change.

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Inside a ‘Nightmare’ Lockdown at a Wisconsin Prison

NYtimes, By Mario Koran, Aug. 19, 2023

Inmates who have been confined mostly to their cells for more than four months describe unsanitary conditions and a dearth of medical care. Experts say dire staffing shortages are likely to blame and are leading to lockdowns across the country.

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Frustration and criticism as L.A. County D.A. struggles to reform sentencing

LA Times, BY James Queally, Aug. 15, 2023

When he took office in 2020, L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón announced a re-sentencing unit that he said could reduce the terms of up to 30,000 people. Only 95 had been re-sentenced as of last month

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Guest Commentary: LA’s Notorious Men’s Central Jail Sees Three Deaths in One Week

Davis Vanguard, By Michelle Parris, August 11, 2023

There have been 29 deaths in Los Angeles County jails since the start of 2023, a result of the county’s ongoing failure to meet its commitments to build a functioning “care first” pretrial services entity and close the troubled Men’s Central Jail. The County Must Act

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Judge Songhai Armstead talks about new grant investment

KTLA, August 10, 2023

Judge Songhai Armstead talked about how Los Angeles' new Justice, Care and Opportunities Department is giving away over $100 million over the next three years in grants to help make our community safer. To apply and for more information you can visit JCODLACounty.gov and follow on social media @LACJCOD. This segment aired on the KTLA 5 Morning News on Aug. 10, 2023.

LISTEN

Editorial: L.A.’s key justice reform survives court challenge. Time to pick up the pace

LA Times, By the Times Editorial Board, August 7, 2023

An appeals court recently overturned the trial court ruling and ordered that Measure J be fully reinstated.

It is time now for the Board of Supervisors to recommit itself to its Care First agenda with programs that break the cycle of recidivism and make the county safer and more just. Voters rightly demanded meaningful change, and are entitled to get it.

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Opinion: The L.A. County jails have had 26 deaths this year. When will it stop?

LA Times, By Michelle Parris, Aug. 4, 2023

...Most of the dead were Black or Latino, had not been convicted of the charges for which they were being held and were in custody only because they were too poor to pay the bail amount for their release.

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LAHSA leader marks her first 100 days by unveiling a new homeless center in South L.A.

LA Times, By Ruben Vives, Aug. 2, 2023

After 100 days leading the agency at the forefront of solving Los Angeles County’s homelessness crisis, Va Lecia Adams Kellum touted a new pilot program as representative of her collaborative approach.

The 24,000-square-foot Welcome Navigation Center, operated by Adams Kellum’s Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, is located on 45th Street and Broadway in South L.A. and will be staffed 24 hours a day in an effort to funnel people from the streets into permanent housing.

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Measure J, L.A. County’s 2020 criminal justice reform measure, is constitutional, appellate court finds

LA Times, By Jaclyn Cosgrove, July 30, 2023

An appellate court has ruled that a sweeping Los Angeles County criminal justice reform initiative known as Measure J is constitutional, potentially paving the way for millions of dollars to be invested in social services and a host of community-based jail diversion programs.

Measure J requires that 10% of locally generated, unrestricted L.A. County money — estimated between $360 million and $900 million — be spent on social services, including housing, mental health treatment and other jail diversion programs. The county is prohibited from spending the money on the carceral system — prisons, jails or law enforcement agencies.

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The Auteurs of San Quentin

Hollywood Reporter, By Rebecca Keegan, July 31, 2023

For the incarcerated men in the first film and TV job training program in a U.S. prison, production offers a pathway to redemption.

Like many independent filmmakers, Anthony Gomez has some quibbles with his own work. He wishes he’d had more time to shoot. His lead looks natural on camera but the voiceover delivery is stiff. A friend came through with some original music, but the post process was crazy. The usual stuff. What’s unusual is that Gomez, 26, made his most recent film, a short documentary about working out, while living inside San Quentin State Prison.

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Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey remains on lockdown in aftermath of riot

LA Times, By Louis Sahagún, James Queally, July 29, 2023

Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey remained on lockdown Saturday after a riot during which 13 detainees breached their units and attempted to escape by scaling the perimeter walls of the sprawling 66-year-old Los Angeles County facility, officials said.

...This month, the Probation Department moved about 270 juveniles now held in Central Juvenile Hall in downtown Los Angeles and Barry J. Nidorf Hall in Sylmar to Los Padrinos, as the troubled agency tries to right itself after years of disarray.

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Newsom’s plan to transform San Quentin prison lacks details but is moving ahead

LA Times, By Hannah Wiley, July 27, 2023

Newsom’s vision for San Quentin builds on the prison’s already expansive programming by layering on more robust job training courses, additional substance-use and mental-health treatment and expanded academic classes. The plan fits into Newsom’s broader goal of reducing the incarcerated population, largely through treatment and prevention programs and a handful of prison closures, and builds on his prior decisions to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and shut down the execution chamber at San Quentin.

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Free calls for LA County jail inmates OK’d by Board of Supervisors

City News Service, July 25, 2023

LOS ANGELES — Despite concerns over the costs of the program and how it will be funded, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday to provide free phone calls for jail inmates.

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Unlike Other States, California Ex-Prisoners Left on Own – Prison to Homelessness Pipeline Real Thing

Davis Vanguard, By The Vanguard Staff, July 21, 2023

LONG BEACH, CA – A recently-released prisoner here, Alberto Perez, has bounced around California prisons most of his adult life, and according to an NBC News report is proof of a “prison-to-homelessness pipeline.”

At a recent county encounter where recently-released prisoners may be offered help to adjust, all Perez wanted was a pair of construction boots—the NBC story suggested he didn’t get those or shelter, which he said he didn’t want anyway.

“Perez explained his decision. He said the shelter, where he was required to obey strict rules regarding his comings and goings, mirrored life in prison,” noting, “A shelter is worse than a jail. Why do I have to be in a controlled, prison-like environment to get assistance? That’s what I don’t understand.”

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LA County Moves 171 Youths to Revamped Downey Juvenile Hall

The San Fernando Valley Sun, July 14, 2023

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey was officially back in business Friday, July 14, housing 171 youths who were transferred this week from one of two other county facilities deemed by the state to be unsuitable for housing young detainees.

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Column: She fantasized about torturing her daughter’s killer. Instead, she helped him

LA Times, By Anita Chabria, July 13, 2023

Forgiveness is complicated. So is its counterpart, remorse.

Both require moving on from pain and violation — either as perpetrator or victim — while somehow holding space for the meaning of that suffering. Both require faith that the past doesn’t own the future.

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LA mayor signs, updates emergency declaration on homelessness

Hey SoCal, by City News Service Inc., JUL 10, 2023

“Over the first six months of my administration, we’ve seen thousands of Angelenos come inside and thousands of units expedited,” Bass said during a Monday morning press briefing at City Hall. “That’s the urgency that must continue with added collaboration and coordination with the City Council in this emergency.”

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California spent $600 million to house and rehab former prisoners — but can’t say whether it helped

Cal Matters, By Rhonda Lyons, July 10, 2023

A $100 million-a-year rehabilitation program for former California prisoners grew with little oversight from the state corrections agency. It’s unclear how many parolees wind up back in prison.

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Ex-Prisoners Face Headwinds as Job Seekers, Even as Openings Abound

NY Times, By Talmon Joseph Smith, July 6, 2023

An estimated 60 percent of those leaving prison are unemployed a year later. But after a push for “second-chance hiring,” some programs show promise.

 

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A New Era of Prison Education

Inside Higher Ed by Judy Olian, July 6, 2023

More than 700,000 incarcerated individuals are estimated to be eligible for Pell Grant funds as of this past Saturday, July 1, marking the first time men and women in prisons have had broad access to Pell Grants since 1994, when Congress voted to deny these funds to incarcerated individuals.

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California promises better care for thousands of inmates as they leave prison


LA Times, By Don Thompson , Updated July 4, 2023

California has agreed to improve healthcare for newly released prison inmates who are disabled, including through a series of measures that advocates say will help almost everyone trying to make the transition from incarceration.

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LA County sheriff investigating after bodycam video shows deputy throwing Black woman to the ground

ABC News By Deena Zaru and Alex Stone, July 5, 2023

READ and WATCH

5 takeaways of the California budget deal

LA Times, June 29, 2023

Gov. Gavin Newsom and California lawmakers agreed to a $310.8-billion budget deal that will include an expansion of Medi-Cal coverage and transforming parts of San Quentin State Prison into a rehabilitation center.

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Sheriff’s Department gets $4 billion amid ‘unconscionable’ conditions in L.A. jails

LA Times, By Rebecca Ellis, June 26, 2023 

“This budget acknowledges that there are serious problems with sheriff violence and jail conditions,” said Ivette Alé-Ferlito, executive director of La Defensa. “But instead of investing in the care and freedom of the survivors, you’re throwing more money at the very departments that are committing these atrocities. This is lipstick on a pig.”

As she spoke, advocates in the crowd held signs with tombstones on them — representing the 24 people who have died in county custody since the start of the year — about one per week.

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How LA County’s Zero-Bail Rules Can Help Others Like Me

The APPEAL, by Angel Lopez, Jun 28, 2023

I was arrested during the pandemic. In normal circumstances, I likely would have spent months in jail only to be thrown back into the streets, having lost what few belongings I had and any progress I had made to get myself in a better place. Instead, the bail schedule freed me. This new normal allowed me to receive the drug treatment I needed and the additional resources and programs I would not have known about otherwise. I used every opportunity from EBS to get my life together, having learned this freedom could be hard to come by.

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Fights, beatings and a birth: Videos smuggled out of L.A. jails reveal violence, neglect

LA Times, By Keri Blakinger, June 24, 2023

The brutal 20-minute clip is one of a few dozen graphic videos saved to a thumb drive picked out of the trash by one inmate, and later secreted out of the jail by another.

Several of the clips recently reviewed by The Times show stabbings and fist fights. One shows an inmate trying to kill himself, and another shows several jailers punching a man in the head as they try to subdue him. Still another shows a woman giving birth in the middle of a hallway, where her newborn falls out onto the jail floor in a puddle of blood.

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Opinion: Newsom should solve two problems at once: Close prisons and cut spending

LA Times, By Brian Kaneda, June 22, 2023

By seizing the chance to close more California prisons, we can forge a transformative path that not only tackles the history of harmful prison expansion but also directs resources toward meeting the long-neglected needs of many communities.

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A String Of Kids Overdose & A Staff Member Attacked In One Of LA County’s Troubled Youth Halls

WitnessLA, June 22, 2023 by Celeste Fremon

According WitnessLA’s sources, and a document we have obtained, in the last five days there have been eleven drug overdoses at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall, all of which required intervention, and in some cases, an emergency trip to the hospital.

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Keri Blakinger on her criminal justice memoir Corrections in Ink

US Times Post, by Emma Bowman, June 11, 2023

...the first thing Blakinger learned was the lasting damage the American criminal justice system does to those it incarcerates. In her utterly honest memoir, Blakinger writes, “All the futility, the petty cruelties, the refusal to see us as fully human beings—that wasn’t a flaw in the system.” It was the system.”

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As women's criminal justice reform bill advances, advocate calls for change

Spectrum, By Cassie Semyon, Jun. 07, 2023

Heading into her Los Angeles office at A New Way of Life, Marina Judkins is on a mission. It’s a mission often done quietly. But Judkins is hoping to bring it to the light.

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Column: What happened to criminal justice reform?

La Times, By Nicholas Goldberg, June 5, 2023

It seems like only yesterday that criminal justice reform was in vogue.

Progressives were being elected as prosecutors. Laws were passed to relieve prison overcrowding and divert offenders from the system who needed treatment, not jail time.

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CA Senate Approves Bill Eliminating Deadline For Reducing Old Felony Convictions To Misdemeanors Under Prop 47

WitnessLA, May 30, 2023 by Celeste Fremon

On Tuesday, May 30, the California Senate approved a bill eliminating the deadline by which people must apply to reduce old felony convictions to misdemeanors for low level, non-violent crimes, under voter-approved Proposition 47.

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State orders L.A. County to move nearly 300 youths out of ‘unsuitable’ juvenile halls."

By Rebecca Ellis, James Queally, May 23, 2023

State regulators on Tuesday gave Los Angeles County two months to move roughly 300 youths out of its two troubled juvenile halls, taking the unprecedented step after finding the county had done little in the last month to come into compliance with a long list of state regulations.

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LA County Should Loosen Strict Reentry Program Criteria

LAW 360, By Sophia Lowe, Eleanor Pearson and Samuel Mistrano, May 19, 2023

On Feb. 28, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to draft a Fair Chance Ordinance that would prevent most businesses in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County from excluding job applicants with histories of criminal records during the hiring process, and that would fine employers that violate it.

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Dozens of LASD deputies ordered to show suspected gang tattoos, reveal others who have them

LA Times, By Keri Blakinger, May 17, 2023
Nearly three dozen deputies have been ordered to come in for questioning, show their tattoos and give up the names of any other deputies similarly sporting ink connecting them to two of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s most notorious deputy gangs.

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Claude Garrett Was Wrongfully Imprisoned For Decades. He Died After Five Months Of Freedom.

The Intercept, Liliana Segura, May 14 2023

In many ways, Claude was lucky. He had a job, a place to live, the support of loved ones. But incarceration exacts a heavy toll.

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LA County picks former state adult parole director as interim chief of probation

Pasadena Star News, By Jason Henry, May 11, 2023

Guillermo Viera Rosa receives promotion just weeks into new job. Guillermo Viera Rosa, a strategist hired by Los Angeles County less than a month ago to reform its struggling juvenile halls, will now, at least temporarily, lead the largest probation department in the country as the new interim chief probation officer, county officials announced Thursday, May 11.

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Inmates leaving California prisons may be armed with Narcan to reduce overdose risk

LA Times, By Don Thompson, May 10, 2023

Individuals newly released from prison are 40 times as likely to die of opioid overdoses than members of the general population, researchers say.

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Editorial: Unconscionable abuse and shameful inaction at L.A. County jails

LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, May 7, 2023

Last fall, the plaintiffs’ attorneys at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California obtained an order banning custody practices that would spark international outrage if they were perpetrated by enemies in wartime: chaining or handcuffing mentally ill people to chairs for days without access to drinking water, toilets, showers, adequate ventilation or medication, and leaving them to sleep on concrete floors at the Inmate Reception Center with no mattresses or blankets, amid one another’s excrement.

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18-year-old dies of overdose in L.A. County juvenile hall, as state suggests shutdown

BY James Queally, Staff Writer, May 9, 2023

A state oversight agency issued a report Tuesday calling for Los Angeles County’s juvenile halls to be shuttered in the wake of a staffing crisis and reports of increased violence and drug use, just hours after an 18-year-old was found dead of an apparent overdose in one of the deteriorating facilities.

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Is California giving reparations for slavery? Here’s what you need to know

LA Times, By Taryn Luna, Staff Writer, May 6, 2023

California’s Reparations Task Force voted on Saturday to recommend that the state issue a formal apology for slavery and potentially provide billions of dollars in cash payments, moving forward a historic effort to enact remedies and compensation for descendants of African Americans who were enslaved in the U.S.

The vote at a public meeting in Oakland marks the beginning of the end of the nine-member panel’s two-year process to craft a report recommending reparations for slavery, which is due to the state Legislature by July 1.

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Interim chief resigns from embattled LA County Probation Department

Los Angeles Daily News, by Jason Henry and Steve Scauzillo, Pasadena Star News, May 2, 2023

Karen Fletcher, Los Angeles County’s interim chief probation officer, is stepping down after less than two months leading the county’s troubled Probation Department.

The Board of Supervisors promoted Fletcher to the department’s top spot in March after firing her predecessor, Chief Adolfo Gonzales. Her resignation letter to the board on Monday, May 1, states her last day will be May 19

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Editorial: Sexual assaults, probation’s meltdown and L.A. County governance are connected

LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, May 2, 2023 5 AM PT

Under a proposal that goes before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, reserve sheriff‘s deputies would help staff the county’s two chaotic juvenile halls, a third hall would reopen, and the county chief executive officer would have emergency powers to take additional actions to save the foundering Probation Department.

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Jamaica, Farewell

NewsOne By Asha Bandele, May 2, 2023

Award-winning author and journalist asha bandele recalls Harry Belafonte not just as a legendary artist and activist but also as a master strategist.

It really doesn’t matter that we knew for some time that his death was imminent. He’d been frail for years, and for years, each time I asked Susan Taylor, who’d formally introduced us more than two decades ago, if perhaps there was an event Mr. B. could attend with us, she’d tell me he wasn’t well enough. But in the way I could never see my own father’s strength leaving him, not even when he was in hospice, neither could I prepare myself to hear that Harry Belafonte—artist and organizer, father, husband, son and friend—had drawn his final breath.

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Home/Free documentary film spotlighting re-entry barriers for formerly incarcerated people now available to stream on Prime Video

May 1st, 2023

Slack, Next Chapter, John Legend’s freeamerica, and the Equal Justice Initiative join forces to make powerful new documentary

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The Untold Story Of How A Stubborn Group Of Parents Helped Shutter The Nation’s Largest Youth Prison System

The Appeal, Nell Bernstein, The Imprint Apr 26, 2023

How a scrappy group of parents played a key but lesser-known role in the pending closure of the Division of Juvenile Justice

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A California lawyer cashed in on criminal justice reform by fanning the hopes of inmates’ families

LA Times, By Harriet Ryan, April 21, 2023

When California enacted landmark criminal justice reforms several years ago, inmates and their families saw a chance at freedom. Aaron Spolin saw a business opportunity.

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California Politics: The prison reform that divides California Democrats

By Laurel Rosenhall Sacramento Bureau Chief, April 20, 2023

SACRAMENTO — Will this be the year California limits solitary confinement in state prisons and jails?

Even though the state’s voters and the Legislature’s Democratic majority have embraced a number of progressive criminal justice reforms over the last decade that have reduced the prison population, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last year vetoed legislation to limit the use of solitary confinement.

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LA County Reorganizes The Youth Side Of Probation. So Will It Help?

Witness LA, April 19, 2023 by Celeste Fremon

On Wednesday, April 19, Los Angeles County CEO, Fesia Davenport officially notified all those who work for the nation’s largest probation department that Guillermo Viera Rosa is now on the job as the department’s “Chief Strategist for Juvenile Operations.”

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Kim Kardashian leads young influencers on Los Angeles prison trip to raise criminal justice reform awareness

Fox News, By Michael Ruiz , April 17, 2023

Kim and Khloé Kardashian walked into a California prison Monday morning with a different goal in mind – guiding a group of young influencers through the American criminal justice system.

"It’s always an honor to be able to visit the men and women living behind our prison walls," Kim, a longtime criminal justice reform advocate, said Monday. The "Kardashians" star had spent several hours at the California State Prison of Los Angeles County in Lancaster with Michael Rubin and members of the REFORM Alliance – a group that aims to help ex-cons successfully return to society through probation and parole reform – and a number of young social media stars.

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California attorney general asks judge to sanction LA County if it doesn’t fix juvenile halls

Orang County Register, By Jason Henry, Pasadena Star News, April 12, 2023

'It is imperative that our institutions give (incarcerated juveniles) every opportunity for rehabilitation, growth, and healing,' said Attorney General Rob Bonta

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Conditions At LA County’s Jail Intake Center Continue To Violate Judge’s Preliminary Injunction, ACLU Says

Witness LA, April 7, 2023 by Taylor Walker

Last year, conditions at Los Angeles County’s jail intake center reached lows so disturbing that the ACLU filed an emergency motion on September 8, 2022, asking U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson, who oversees the county’s 2015 federal consent decree, to issue a temporary restraining order against the county.

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California parole chief tapped by Gavin Newsom resigns to lead LA’s troubled juvenile halls

The Sacramento Bee, By Maggie Angst, April 05, 2023

The head of California’s adult parole division is leaving to oversee Los Angeles’s long-troubled juvenile halls and manage the nation’s largest juvenile justice system. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night to hire Guillermo Viera Rosa as the county’s new chief strategist for juvenile operations.

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Los Angeles County’s probation department challenges are extraordinary. It’s time for receivership.

Los Angeles Daily News, By Karen Pank, March 31, 2023

Los Angeles County is at a pivotal moment. We need an extraordinary solution and a reset that removes the politics and can delve into identifying the problems and address them holistically.

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San Quentin Could Be the Future of Prisons in America

NYTimes, Guest Opinion, March 30, 2023, by By Bill Keller, founding editor in chief of The Marshall Project

There are many ways to measure the disaster that is America’s prison system... But the metric that has haunted me in the decade since I helped start the nonprofit The Marshall Project and began paying attention to the role of prisons in America is this: Each year more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Far too many of them emerge from custody brutalized, alienated, estranged from their families, stigmatized and lacking in basic education or employable skills. Unsurprisingly, about three-quarters of those released from state prisons nationwide are arrested again within five years. California has one of the worst records for repeat offenses.

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FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan. Here’s what it means


AP News, By Geoff Mulvihill, March 29, 2023

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling the leading version of naloxone without a prescription, setting the overdose-reversing drug on course to become the first opioid treatment drug to be sold over the counter.

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Three inmates died in Los Angeles County jails in just over a week

LA Times By Keri Blakinger March 28, 2023

Three Los Angeles County inmates died in an nine-day period this month, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a grim milestone that comes even as the county is facing scrutiny in court for using a cash bail system that can keep poor people behind bars.

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‘First Step Act’ – GAO Reports on Federal Efforts to Help Reduce Recidivism and Re-Entry to Federal Prisons

The Davis Vanguard, By Belen Avelar and Vaiva Utaraite, March 24, 2023

According to BOP data, as of Jan. 29, 2022, “39,394 incarcerated people who were eligible to earn First Step Act time credits were not able to have their First Step Act time credits applied because of their medium or high-risk level status.”

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CA’s Chief Probation Officers Call For Immediate Limited Court Receivership For LA County’s Youth Facilities
Witness LA, March 23, 2023 by Celeste Fremon
In what appears to be a completely unprecedented action, on Wednesday, March 22, the statewide organization known as the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) sent out press release asking state and county leaders to put Los Angeles County’s juvenile facilities, most particularly the county’s two deeply troubled juvenile halls, into “a narrowly tailored” court receivership.
New Partnerships Help Incarcerated People Find Jobs

Vera Institute, Nazish Dholakia Senior Writer, Mar 21, 2023

Corrections departments, educators, and employers are increasingly working together to create job opportunities for people leaving prison.

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California to overhaul San Quentin prison, emphasizing rehab

Associated Press/Report for America, By Janie HAR and Sophie Austin March 16, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The infamous state prison on San Francisco Bay that has been home to the largest death row population in the United States will be transformed into a lockup where less-dangerous prisoners will receive education, training and rehabilitation, California officials announced Thursday.

The inmates serving death sentences at San Quentin State Prison will be moved elsewhere in the California penitentiary system, Gov. Gavin Newsom's office announced, and it will be renamed the San Quentin Rehabilitation Center.

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L.A. County probation chief fired by Board of Supervisors

LA Times, By James Queally, Rebecca Ellis, March 7, 2023

Los Angeles County leaders unanimously voted to fire Probation Department Chief Adolfo Gonzales on Tuesday, pledging it would be the first step in an overhaul of one of the county’s most troubled departments.

The vote brings an abrupt end to Gonzales’ tumultuous two-year term, in which the department careened from one crisis to the next.

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Gascón loses retaliation case, a grim omen for the L.A. County D.A.

LA Times, By James Queally Staff Writer, March 6, 2023

An L.A. County prosecutor on Monday was awarded $1.5 million in a retaliation lawsuit against Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who faces more than a dozen similar civil claims that could prove equally costly.

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It’s hard to find a job if you’ve been in jail. A new program is trying to fix that

LA Times, By Jon Healey, Utility Journalism Senior Editor, March 2, 2023

...That’s why Los Angeles County launched its second Fair Chance Hiring Program this year to promote the hiring of “system impacted” individuals — that is, Californians with criminal records and their close relatives. The program builds on the Fair Chance Act, a 2017 state law that bars most employers with five or more workers from rejecting applicants just because they have a criminal record.

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LA Is Locking Up More Mentally Ill People, Despite Diversion Efforts

The Appeal, By Meg O'Connor, March 02, 2023

In 2015, Los Angeles County created a program to reduce the number of mentally ill people trapped in jail. But since then, the number of people with mental illness incarcerated in LA has instead increased significantly.

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Editorial: Ousting L.A. County’s chief probation officer isn’t enough. Only radical intervention can save juvenile justice

LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, Feb. 28, 2023

Adolfo Gonzales, Los Angeles County’s chief probation officer, is not the real problem in a disastrous probation system that has failed teenagers caught in it.

That’s not to say that Gonzales is up to the job. He’s not. On his watch, juvenile halls and probation camps have sunk more deeply into crisis, further endangering a troubled population of teenagers in county custody and too often squandering the opportunity to get their lives on a better course.

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Mass Incarceration Is Slavery. Abolition Is A Vision For The Future.

The Appeal, by Olayemi Olurin, Feb 22, 2023

Yes, when abolitionists say abolition, we do really mean abolish prisons, policing, and America’s entire criminal system as it exists. Yes, going as far as abolishing it is necessary. No, it’s not radical. And yes, we know it’s a process.

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A Law Was Meant To Free Sick Or Aging Inmates. Instead, Some Are Left To Die In Prison.

WitnessLA Guest, February 21, 2023, By Fred Clasen-Kelly, Kaiser Health News

Doctors told Stout, now 62, the sharp pain and congestion in his chest were caused by stage 4 lung cancer, a terminal condition. “I’m holding on, but I would like to die at home,” he told the courts in a request last September for compassionate release after serving about half of his nearly 15-year sentence

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Why hotel rooms for L.A.'s homeless sit empty

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Mandatory evictions for arrested tenants would be banned under new state bill

LA Times, By Liam Dillon , Feb. 18, 2023

Assembly Bill 1418 takes aim at local policies known as “crime-free housing,” which can force landlords to evict tenants accused of breaking the law or refuse to rent to those with prior criminal convictions.

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Leaving prison for many means homelessness and overdose. California hopes to change that

LA Times By Lila Seidman, Feb. 13, 2023

Californians who leave prisons and jails soon will have a better chance of success beyond bars. In January, California became the first state permitted to provide some benefits under Medicaid (known here as Medi-Cal) to incarcerated individuals. The new benefits would start 90 days before discharge in an effort to create a smooth transition to the community.

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State Oversight Board Says LA Probation’s Youth Halls Are Dangerously Out Of Compliance In 39 Categories

February 15, 2023 by Celeste Fremon

Last Thursday, February 9, the members of the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) were presented with a report showing that Los Angeles County Probation’s two youth lock-ups — Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall and Central Juvenile Hall — were once again extravagantly out of compliance when it comes to basic standards of care for the kids in residence at the two facilities.

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New Federal Law Clarifies FCC’s Power To Cap Phone And Video Call Rates In Jails And Prisons

WitnessLA, February 10, 2023 by Taylor Walker

As of January, a new federal law, the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act, gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the power to regulate the price of video calls in prisons and jails across the nation.

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L.A. on the Record: A new leader for LAHSA

LA Times, By Benjamin Oreskes, Dakota Smith, Jan. 28, 2023

Va Lecia Adams Kellum, president and chief executive of St. Joseph Center, will head the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

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Civil rights groups file lawsuit to block Newsom’s plan for treating people with mental illness

LA Times, By Hannah Wileys, Jan. 26, 2023

SACRAMENTO — A coalition of disability and civil rights advocates filed a lawsuit Thursday asking the California Supreme Court to block the rollout of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s far-reaching new plan to address severe mental illness by compelling treatment for thousands of people.

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California Set To Become First State In Nation To Expand Medicaid Services For Justice-Involved Individuals

SACRAMENTO, January 26, 2023 – California today became the first state in the nation to offer a targeted set of Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) services to youth and adults in state prisons, county jails, and youth correctional facilities for up to 90 days prior to release. Currently, Medi-Cal services are generally available only after release from incarceration. Through a federal Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will establish a coordinated community reentry process that will assist people leaving incarceration to connect to the physical and behavioral health services they need upon release.

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Editorial: What were L.A. probation officials thinking? Public agencies should not profit from firearm sales

By The Times Editorial Board, Jan. 24, 2023

It boggles the mind. As some Los Angeles County leaders were rushing to the scene in Monterey Park where 11 people were fatally shot with a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol Saturday, other county officials were preparing to put hundreds more handguns — all of them 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols — on the street.

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Listen To What LAPD Chief Moore Says About His Decision To Ban The Thin Blue Line Police Flag From Department Use

Air Talk with Larry Mantle, Jan 18, 2023

What happened to the Thin Blue Line Flag? "In the more recent past, it has been weaponized by the far right extremists and has come to in some people's view represent extremist views, including white supremacy and anti-government rhetoric," Moore said on AirTalk With Larry Mantle

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As fentanyl overdose deaths keep rising, efforts to reverse trend meet liability fears

LA Times By Connor Sheets, Staff Writer Dec. 27, 2022

As fentanyl overdose deaths rise unabated, California is at the forefront of the fight to reverse the grim trend. But organizations that distribute overdose reversal drugs worry that their increasingly bold efforts to save lives could land them in legal trouble.

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Newsom Grants 10 Pardons, Including For Drug Crimes

Associated Press, Dec 27, 2022

Newsom has granted 140 pardons, 123 commutations and 35 reprieves since taking office in 2019.

SACRAMENTO, CA — California Gov. Gavin Newsom granted 10 pardons Friday, including for several people convicted of drug crimes more than 20 years ago and someone facing the possibility of deportation.

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For the First Time Since 2020, People In LA County Jails Can Get Married Again
The LAist By Emily Elena Dugdale, Dec 27, 2022
For Decades, Los Angeles Jailed People with Mental Health Needs. Now, It’s Finally Prioritizing Treatment

Vera by Sam McCann Senior Writer, Dec 22, 2022

The Los Angeles jail system is the largest mental health institution in the United States, and it’s locking up more people with mental illness than ever before. But this fall, a coalition local organizers, service providers, impacted families, and advocates like Vera secured two major victories that will divert hundreds of people with mental health needs away from Los Angeles County’s inhumane and dangerous Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) and into supportive housing. The wins are part of an ongoing effort to transform how Los Angeles approaches mental health.

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How California’s colleges are supporting formerly incarcerated students

Visalia Times Delta by Arabel Meyer, Titus Wilkinson, Ramon Castaños, Abbie Phillips, Erik AdamsEdSource, Dec. 22, 2022

California public universities are becoming more equitable and inclusive as programs emerge to help formerly incarcerated students earn college degrees.

These programs include the California State University system’s Project Rebound and the University of California’s Underground Scholars, both of which have shown promising results in the successful reintegration of people into the education system.

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What It Means To Spend The Holidays Behind Bars

The Appeal, by Chris Blackwell, Antoine E. Davis, Jonathan Kirkpatrick, Aaron Edward Olson & Raymond Williams, Dec 22, 2022

Incarcerated writers reflect on the pain, joy, and other complicated emotions associated with getting in the so-called "holiday spirit" in prison.

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‘Dickensian’ Conditions At LA County Jail Amid Shortage Of Psychiatric Staff

The LAist, By Robert Garrova, Dec 22, 2022

4 In 10 Of mental health positions are vacant, Filthy jail cells. In an LAist investigation from earlier this year, current and former medical staff members described a jail working environment that is dysfunctional, abusive and detrimental to providing health care.

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George Soros Funding Criminal Justice Reform Plants In Legacy Media

By Corinne Murdock, Dec 21, 2022

Democratic megadonor George Soros will pay journalists anywhere from $63,000 to $85,000 to advance progressive criminal justice reform...

Journalists aren’t the only ones eligible for these fellowships. OSF offers three distinct categories of fellowship funding — advocacy, media, and youth activism — which may pay up to six figures, according to scholarship data provided to universities. These categories qualify a wide variety of professions such as lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, artists, and filmmakers.

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Criminal justice panel says California should pay restitution to victims, ban some traffic stops

LA Times by Hannah Wiley, December 20, 2022

California should set up a taxpayer-funded restitution system for crime victims, curtail the use of money bail and limit when cops can make traffic stops that disproportionately affect Black and Latino drivers, according to recommendations from a criminal justice panel that advises state lawmakers.

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New Study Looks At Relationship Between Reformist DAs & Crime Rates…& Finds That Facts Matter

WitnessLA, December 16, 2022 by Celeste Fremon

... The authors wrote that they found no evidence of an association between progressive prosecution and homicide in Los Angeles County.

“In 2020, the year before George Gascón was elected District Attorney, homicides increased by 38 percent in the city of Los Angeles proper and by 37 percent in cities policed by the Sheriff.”

The following year they noted that “homicides rose only 12 percent” in the city of Los Angeles, whereas, in municipalities policed by the [LA County] Sheriff, the rate of growth (41 percent) exceeded that in the first year of the pandemic.”

Bottom line: “The disparate patterns in homicide across the cities that make up Los Angeles County suggest that the policies of the prosecutor do not have a direct relationship to levels of lethal violence,” wrote the authors.

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Justice Dept. Considers Early Release for Female Inmates Sexually Abused Behind Bars

NYTimes by By Glenn Thrush, Dec. 13, 2022

The push comes amid new revelations about the extent of abuse of women, and the unwillingness of many prison officials to address a crisis that has long been an open secret in government.

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Lawsuit Challenges “Unconstitutional” LA County Bail Practices

Witness LA, November 30, 2022 by Taylor Walker

At least ten people who could not afford to post bail died in Los Angeles jails without having been charged with a crime, according to a class-action lawsuit challenging the incarceration of people simply because they cannot afford to post bail amounts set by the LA County’s bail schedule.

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Editorial: California still violates the Constitution on bail

LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, Nov. 29, 2022

The purpose of bail is to get people out of jail.

There continues to be broad misunderstanding of that basic principle among Californians generally, and blatant violation of it — knowing or otherwise — among police and judges. The right to bail under the state and federal constitutions routinely is stood on its head, so that instead of being used to get people out of jail, bail is misused to keep people in.

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Gov. Newsom vetoes bill to end indefinite solitary confinement in California, citing safety concerns
LA Times, By Hannah Wiley , Sept. 29, 2022 
Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Thursday to limit solitary confinement in California’s jails, prisons and private detention centers, rejecting advocates’ hopes to restrict a practice that many experts have likened to torture.
L.A. County sheriff’s unit accused of targeting political enemies, vocal critics
LA Times By Alene Tchekmedyian, Sept. 23, 2021
LA Supervisors Vote to Explore Creating Locked, 'Non-Correctional' Mental Health Facilities

The LAist, By Emily Elena Dugdale, Sep 27, 2022

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion Tuesday that proposed establishing locked “non-correctional” mental health treatment facilities for incarcerated people with mental health needs currently languishing in the county jails.

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‘Third World tactics’? What’s behind L.A. County sheriff’s search of Sheila Kuehl’s home?
LA Times, By Times Staff, Sept. 21, 2022
Sheila Kuehl and Patti Giggans have been among the most vocal critics of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Impact Justice And Its Project Pairing Homeowners With Formerly Incarcerated Tenants Gets A $15 Million Boost
Witness LA, September 15, 2022 by Taylor Walker
Every Exit is An Entrance - Starting Over
Black Voice News, Breanna Reeves, Part 1 of 4
'A friend in the White House': Jill Biden tours Homeboy Industries, L.A.'s renowned post-prison service provider

Yahoo News, Grace Toohey September 16, 2022

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Column: If California really wants to reduce crime, not just talk about it, it’ll cost $42 million
LA Times By Erika D. Smith, Sept. 6, 2022
Politicians up and down the state continue to placate an apprehensive public, staking out opposing sides of the ideological spectrum to talk about reducing crime, while often shying away from specific, sustainable solutions. Examples of this abound.

New LASD Whistleblower Tells Of The Sheriff’s Budget Manipulations, Rigged Promotions, & An Alarming Array Of Other Forms Of Corruption

WitnessLA, by Celeste Fremon, August 30, 2022

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Column: Violent crime is spiking in Trump’s California. These counties blame everyone but themselves

LA Times By Anita Chabria, Aug. 26, 2022

Some fault criminal justice reform for increasing rates of violent crime. But homicides in California increased the most in places with hard-line policies.

Deeper in the data, released Thursday by state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, is a more complicated story, one that defies those easy narratives of a failed California with its recklessly unsafe efforts at criminal justice reform. The biggest risks for homicides came in conservative counties with iron-fist sheriffs and district attorneys

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More Than Half a Million People in Prison May Soon Be Able to Afford College

Vera Institute for Justice, Nicholas Turner President & Director, Aug 23, 2022

For the first time in nearly three decades, all academically eligible incarcerated people—regardless of sentence length or offense—will soon be able to apply for federal aid for the 2023-2024 academic year.

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Sheriff Villanueva in tight race as challenger Robert Luna has edge in new poll

LA Times, By Alene Tchekmedyian, Aug. 21, 2022

Retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna has an early edge over incumbent Alex Villanueva in the runoff for Los Angeles County sheriff, with support for the candidates falling largely along political lines, according to a new poll by UC Berkeley co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times...

The poll also found significant support for a measure recently added to the November ballot that would give the county’s Board of Supervisors the power to force out a sitting sheriff. According to the poll, 52% of voters said they support the idea, while 22% said they would vote against it. The rest were undecided.

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Newsom vetoes bill to set up drug overdose prevention programs in some California cities

LA Times By Hannah Wiley, Aug. 22, 2022

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed supervised injection site pilot programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, in efforts to prevent drug overdose deaths and connect people to treatment for addiction.

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Regenerative farming cultivates living-wage jobs, new opportunities in the East Bay

FOX 2, By Tom Vacar, August 17, 2022

FREMONT, Calif. - A new East Bay public-private partnership aims to help ex-inmates re-enter the workplace, fight local hunger, and reduce global warming all in one fell swoop.

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Police Lying to Children:

LA Progressive, Annie Sciacca, Aug 16, 2022

California Bill Seeks to Protect Questioned Youth
All four of the boys interrogated by police confessed. A judge sentenced them to decades in prison, where they stayed until exonerated by DNA evidence in 2011.

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Editorial: Now that a second recall effort has failed, let George Gascón do the work he was elected to do

By The LA Times Editorial Board, Aug. 15, 2022

An excellent overview of the issues surrounding the recall efforts and criminal justice reform in the state.

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Effort to force L.A. Dist. Atty. George Gascón into recall election fails

LA Times, By James Queally, Aug. 15, 2022

A second effort to force Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón into a recall election fizzled out Monday after officials determined that the campaign to boot him from office failed to gain enough valid signatures.

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'We just keep punishing.’
Californians with criminal records still face housing barriers
LA Times, By Hannah Wiley, Mackenzie Mays, Aug. 2, 2022
Note: Sadly LARRP co-sponsored Bill AB 2383 which aimed to address some of these problems was put on hold. (See Policy Update)
Organizers Rally To Call For Restrictions On Solitary Confinement

LAist, By Robert Garrova, Jul 27, 2022

Organizers rallied outside the Glendale offices of State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) Wednesday to call for support of a bill that would put restrictions on the use of solitary confinement. The bill is slated to be heard in the California Senate Appropriations Committee next week, where Portantino is chair.

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Editorial: The false promise of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s CARE courts

By The Times Editorial Board, July 26, 2022

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New Police Accountability Laws Up Demands On State Agencies
Cal Matters, July 26, 2022 by Nigel Duara and Byrhonda Lyons
New state laws on police accountability are testing the limits of several agencies, including the Department of Justice, which say they need more resources for these new duties.
Editorial: Don’t leave 211 callers hanging

By The LA Times Editorial Board, July 19, 2022
Los Angeles County supervisors are preparing to turn the operation and management of a key resource information service over to a firm that took on a similar job for the state Employment Development Department early in the pandemic, when business closures and layoffs were rampant — and did it poorly.

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We agree! @211LA have been long time partners of LARRP, helping navigate people exiting incarceration to our reentry community services. We don't want big data handling our most vulnerable.  This is a people to people business  not a computer to people business! 

Op-Ed: An L.A. program helps people get mental health care instead of jail time. Why not expand it?

LA Times, By James Bianco, July 18, 2022
As a mental health court judge, I work every day with people who are homeless and have serious mental illness. My cases involve people from all over Los Angeles County. The people you see living on the streets in your community are the people in my courtroom.

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Arizona communities would 'collapse' without cheap prison labor, Corrections director says

Arizona Republic, By Jimmy Jenkins, July 14, 2022

“There are services that this department provides to city, county, local jurisdictions, that simply can't be quantified at a rate that most jurisdictions could ever afford. If you were to remove these folks from that equation, things would collapse in many of your counties, for your constituents,” Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn said.

Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn said Arizona communities would “collapse” without cheap prison labor, during testimony before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Thursday.

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LA County Supervisors Pass Diluted Motion To Expand ODR With No Set Deadline

WitnessLA, by Taylor Walker, June 30, 2022

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Criminal justice reform groups say LA County budget shortchanges jail alternatives

LA Daily News,By Steve Scauzillo, June 22, 2022

Groups including Black Lives Matter-LA and Re-Imagine LA, held a rally demanding the county fully implement Measure J reforms

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Governor Newsom’s CARE Court Proposal Moves Forward

Published: Jun 21, 2022

SACRAMENTO – On the heels of California awarding over half a billion dollars for housing and services serving people experiencing mental health and substance use crises, Governor Gavin Newsom’s CARE Court proposal today cleared a major legislative hurdle.

Governor Newsom issued the following statement on CARE Court legislation passing through the Assembly Judiciary Committee with overwhelming support:

“Mental illness. Substance abuse. Homelessness. These are all existential crises we have to address with urgency.

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Slavery Is Still Legal for Two Million People in the U.S.

Vera Institute for Justice, Nicholas Turner President & Directorand Erica Bryant Associate Director of Writing, Jun 15, 2022

Last year, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, but the United States has yet to acknowledge the direct line from chattel slavery in the fields to forced labor in U.S. prisons today. To finally end this injustice, states must ratify the Abolition Amendment and prohibit forced labor in all circumstances.

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Navigating Freedom, Reentry and Motherhood: The Challenges for Formerly Incarcerated Moms

KQED, Hannah Maria Wright, Jun 11, 2022

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How One of Philly's Best Pizza Spots Creates Jobs for the Formerly Incarcerated — First Person

Eater, YouTube, June 4, 2022

Column: No, the criminal justice reform movement isn’t dead. But it may need to grow up

LA Times, By Anita Chabria, June 9, 2022

...Voters’ rejection of Boudin does mean something and he may have even earned it, seemingly never having made the jump from winner to leader.

But races across the state were split when it came to criminal justice reform. There is no grand takeaway, other than the world has not recovered from a pandemic in its third year that has left us socially, economically and even physically off kilter — overwhelmed by drugs, mental illness and poverty, and unsure how to fix it all...

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Yes, LA Voters Could Pick Their Next Mayor In The June Primary. Here's What Would Have To Happen

LAist, By Brianna Lee, May 17, 2022

If a single mayoral candidate gets 50%+1 of the primary vote, do they automatically become mayor after the primary?

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The 1990s Law That Keeps People in Prison on Technicalities

The Marshall Project, By Keri Blakinger And Beth Schwartzapfel, 05.26.2022

How the Supreme Court expanded the most important law you’ve never heard of

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Op-Ed: The mentally ill defendants in my courtroom need treatment, not jail

LA Times, By Terry Lee Smerling, May 20, 2022

...easily one-third of all criminal defendants who come through my courtroom and other courtrooms across the county — thousands of people a year — are identified by defense counsel and assessed by Department of Mental Health personnel as having a mental illness. Prolonged incarceration for people with mental illnesses worsens outcomes and, yes, is more costly and less effective than community treatment.

Yet the county has grossly underfunded the critical community treatment options that judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys want to use and which we know work.

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Fed Gov’t Is Investing $145 Million in Re-Entry Programs for Formerly Incarcerated People

California Black Media by Aldon Thomas Stiles, May 13, 2022

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Criminal Justice Reform Incomplete, Not Ineffective

LA Progressive, Shane Murphy Goldsmith, May 12, 2022

The communities most affected by persistent violence, poverty, and over-policing have created alternatives to incarceration that create safer, healthier cities.

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Everyone has an idea for solving homelessness. What if we listened to the unhoused?


LA Times, By Theo Henderson, Ananya Roy, May 9, 2022 8:44 AM PT

“It’s a war on the poor,” Theo Henderson often likes to note. And indeed, it is, in the liberal city of Los Angeles, where homelessness is the leading public issue of concern. While politicians expand the criminalization of homelessness and promise to “end encampments,” thousands of Angelenos are consigned to living and dying on the streets, and thousands more are on the edge of eviction. Rarely, though, do unhoused voices and experiences shape the city’s public discourse and policies about homelessness.

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Funding dries up for program aimed at LA’s ‘sickest of the sick

KCRW, Hosted by Steve Chiotakis, May 09, 2022

There is a pathway for people suffering from mental health issues to get out of the jail population and into supportive housing. It’s through a 2015 program called ODR Housing from the Office of Diversion and Reentry.

Nearly 4,000 people have been diverted from jail and into the program, which offers housing, nurses, psychiatrists, and case managers.

ODR currently has 2,200 beds, which are occupied, but LA County has not provided funding for the program to expand. So ODR Housing has not been able to accept a new client in over a year.

LISTEN

El Camino College formerly incarcerated student program gets $160,000 grant

Daily Breeze, by Kristy Hutchings, May 9, 2022

El Camino is one of 59 colleges in the state to secure a Rising Scholars Network grant designed to support students who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.

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Social Housing Report Outlines Path to Affordable Housing for All

Non Profit News/Nonprofit Quarterly, Steve Dubb, May 4, 2022

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Gascón supporters, foes exchange barbs

The Signal of Santa Clarita Valley, May 3, 2022, by Caleb Lunetta

From LARRP Partner Susan Burton: “I have worked with George Gascón to create better victim services to create better policies to not criminalize addiction and mental health and to just transform our criminal justice system,” said Burton. “I believe, along with all of you, that there’s a lot of work ahead of us. And I believe in George Gascón heading that work.”

From LARRP Co-founder and Steering Committee Member Lynne Lyman: “I’ve seen all these scare tactics before when the Drug Policy Alliance won treatment instead of incarceration at the ballot in 2001 or when we legalized cannabis in 2016,” said Lynne Lyman, a justice advocate working in L.A. County. “We heard the same: The sky is falling, the fear-mongering about drug addict criminals getting into our communities.”

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Critics of plan to relocate youths from L.A. juvenile hall increasingly vocal before May 1 move

LA Times, By Libor Jany, April 30

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The American women and children we all conveniently forget

KCRW, Hosted by Robert Scheer Apr. 29, 2022

Interview with Jorja Leap

On this week’s “Scheer Intelligence,” Leap joins fellow Angeleno Robert Scheer to discuss California’s female prison population and the scholar’s must-read new book, “Entry Lessons: The Stories of Women Fighting for Their Place, Their Children, and Their Futures After Incarceration,”. Focusing not just on what happens in jails and prisons but what occurs upon reentry, Leap reports with a keenly humanitarian perspective on how these women’s trials and tribulations can often be as difficult if not more so once they’re free.

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Justice Highlights Within LA County’s First Proposed 2022-23 Budget

Witness LA, April 27, 2022, by Taylor Walker

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California inmate overdoses plummet under drug program

By Don Thompson Associated Press, April 26, 2022

The nation's largest medication-assisted treatment program for addicted prison inmates has reduced a surge in drug overdose deaths and hospitalizations plaguing California’s prison system

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Biden grants his first pardons to a former Secret Service agent, two others

Associated Press, By Aamer Madhani, April 26, 2022

The president also commuted the sentences of 75 others for nonviolent, drug-related convictions. The White House announced the clemencies Tuesday as it launched a series of job training and reentry programs for those in prison or recently released.

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The Homelessness Crisis: A Monster of Our Own Making

The Medium, April 25, 2022, By Heidi Marston

Heidi Marston resigned today and submitted this powerful piece about this situation. Some of the quotes:

  • But in 2020, 205 people in Los Angeles County found housing that resolved their homelessness every day — while at the same time, 225 people fell into homelessness on the same day.
  • Amongst our lowest-compensated employees, 91% are people of color. Many have lived experience of homelessness, and some have been recipients of services that LAHSA and our non-profit partners administer. The employees of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority should not make so little that they qualify for homeless services themselves.

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Editorial: Release California from the prison of over-incarceration

By The Times Editorial Board, April 13, 2022

READ THE EDITORIAL

The Superpredator Myth Did a Lot of Damage. Courts Are Beginning to See the Light.

NYTimes Guest Essay, By James Forman Jr. and Kayla Vinson, April 20, 2022

...Revisiting lengthy sentences, especially for people who committed acts of violence, has always been considered one of the third rails of criminal justice reform. But two recent developments in Connecticut — one from the State Supreme Court, the other from the Board of Pardons and Paroles — offer important examples of state officials overcoming this reluctance.

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Exclusive: HUD unveils plan to help people with a criminal record find a place to live

USA TODAY by Romina Ruiz-Goiriena, April 12, 2022

Key Points

  • HUD is making it easier for Americans with a criminal record to find housing.
  • In six months, HUD will produce new guidelines and model documents, such as leases.
  • The move would impact all federally funded housing programs, including public housing authorities and rental assistance voucher programs.

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How Sacramento’s mass shooting killed the myth of ‘tough-on-crime’ prosecutors

The Philadelphia Enquirer, by Will Bunch, Apr 7, 2022
A mass killing on the turf of an outspoken "tough-on-crime" DA shatters the myth that progressive prosecutors are the cause of rising homicides.

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Coalition Pushes California To Provide Funding For Crime Prevention, Prisoner Re-Entry Programs

CBS13 SACRAMENTO, By Rachel Wulff, April 6, 2022

Tinisch Hollins lost a family member to gun violence. It’s one of the reasons why she is working with Californians For Safety and Justice. “We want to set state’s priorities,” Hollins said.

Her organization was one of a dozen that sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature asking for $3 billion in funding. The money would also be used to help try to prevent recidivism. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg says the failure to re-enter people effectively after jail is a public safety issue.

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CA Police Data Shows ‘Tough-on-Crime’ Counties Experience Higher Crime

The Crime Report,By Andrea Cipriano, April 4, 2022

California has been in the spotlight in recent weeks for its battle handling crime spikes, and most recently their Sacramento battle recovering from a devastating mass shooting.

With that, a debate regarding policing strategy rages on — and new police data shows California counties with tough-on-crime policies actually have a greater crime increase compared to counties with progressive policies, Davis Vanguard reports.

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Is it fair to blame Gascón alone for L.A.’s violent crime surge? Here’s what the data show

LA Times, By James Queally, April 1, 2022

...an analysis of the L.A. County district attorney’s office filing rates, homicide solve rates and crime statistics paints a far more complicated picture of the surge in violence than the one some of Gascón’s enemies have sketched.

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After years of talk, little progress on closing L.A. County’s aging jail

LA Times, By Alene Tchekmedyian, March 30, 2022

..Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the county is not ready to close the jail, but she has been pushing to use state grants set aside to build jails to instead fund diversion programs. “We don’t want to build jails, but we want to use it to serve the same population,” she said. She added: “The point is how quickly can we and the community get ready to build out the services we need on the care end of our ‘Care First, Jails Last’ initiative.”

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Chesa Boudin’s radical life made him a lightning rod for the progressive prosecutor movement

LA Times By Miriam Pawel, March 30, 2022

...San Francisco voters’ verdict on Boudin will reverberate far beyond the city’s 47 square miles, including in Los Angeles, where Dist. Atty. George Gascón faces a potential recall. Because if you can’t make radical change in San Francisco, what future does the progressive prosecutor movement have?...

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Psychological Evaluations And Other Subjective Assessments Contribute To Racial Disparities In Parole Decisions, Says Report

WitnessLA, March 25, 2022 by Taylor Walker

Subjective professional assessments — like psychological evaluations, prosecutors’ recommendations, and behavioral reports — are responsible for just under half of the racial disparities in parole decisions in California, according to research published in the journal “Law and Social Inquiry.”

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Column: Villanueva’s beef with firefighters, the L.A. Times, Gascón, ‘Latinx’ and more

LA Times By Gustavo Arellano, March 24, 2022

The ostensible purpose of my sit-down with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was to talk about his department’s Latino makeup and outlook. It took a bizarre detour when he began to offer random, tone-deaf pronouncements about the Black community for reasons known only to him.

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Column: L.A. County’s sheriff has a strange obsession with how much media coverage Black people get

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Column: L.A. County’s sheriff leans on his Latino identity. Does he exemplify our worst traits?

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Newsletter: Essential California: Gustavo talks with Sheriff Villanueva; desmadre happens

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LA County’s Civilian Oversight Commission Launches Full-Scale Investigation Into LA County’s Deputy Gang Problem

WitnessLA, March 24, 2022 by Celeste Fremon

On Thursday, March 24, Sean Kennedy, the chair of Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission or COC, announced that the commission will launch a full-scale investigation into the deputy gangs that have plagued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and many of the communities it polices, for around 50 years. The COC-launched investigation will include a team of high-profile lawyers who will conduct the probe on a pro bono basis.

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Waiting to Go to Court Shouldn’t Be a Death Sentence

Vera Institute of Justice, Think Justice Blog, From the President, March 18, 2022

Tarz Youngblood, the first person to die in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex in 2022, was a father of three—two three-year-old twins and a six-year-old. At the time of his death, he was presumed innocent of the crimes for which he was charged and was being held on $10,000 bail. Unable to pay, he had spent more than six months waiting for trial in hellish conditions.

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Randomized Trial Shows Criminal Justice Fees Heighten Hardship For Defendants, Are Not Deterrents, And Offer Negligible Benefit To Counties

Witness LA, March 12, 2022 by Taylor Walker

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George Gascón wouldn’t compromise, until he did. Now, no one is happy

By LA Times Today Staff El Segundo, Mar. 11, 2022

In an interview for “LA Times Today,” District Attorney Gascón spoke with host Lisa McRee about his reforms, the recall effort against him, and his plans for the county.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW

Editorial: Blame it on Prop 47: The latest chapter in an endless work of fiction about crime

By the LA Times Editorial Board
March 8, 2022

Three bills to roll back or outright repeal Proposition 47 come before a key Assembly committee Tuesday. We’ve been here before, and it’s getting old.

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More and More Prisons Are Banning Mail

Vera Institute of Justice,Nazish Dholakia - Senior Writer, March 1, 2022

For people who are incarcerated, a letter or photograph from home goes a long way. But more jails and prisons are introducing cruel policies that mean people in those facilities never get them.

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How a single case challenged the LA prosecutor’s reform agenda: ‘Nobody is happy’

The Guardian, February 26, 2022 by Sam Levin

The developments show how media coverage of horrific crimes can help derail criminal justice reform

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Gate Money” Bill Would Significantly Increase Assistance For Californians Returning Home From Prison

WitnessLA, February 23, 2022 by Taylor Walker

In California, people leaving prison each receive $200 as a release allowance, known as “gate money.”... This post release allowance has not been increased since 1973. Furthermore, if that $200 of 1973 gate money is adjusted for inflation, it represents approximately $30.49 in 2022 dollars.

With these and related issues in mind, California lawmakers now have the opportunity to significantly raise the amount of the state’s release money to $2,589, a rise that is based on California’s cost of living.

The new bill, SB 1304, authored by CA Senator Sydney Kamlager (D – Los Angeles), will now soon be scheduled to be heard by to appropriate legislative committees.

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LA DA Gascón Ends Ban On Seeking Life Without Parole For Some Defendants

The LAist By Frank Stoltze, Feb 18, 2022 7:33

In his second significant policy reversal this week, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said Friday he would consider seeking life without the possibility of parole for some criminal defendants.

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They Wanted to Roll Back Tough-on-Crime Policies. Then Violent Crime Surged.

NYTimes, Feb. 18, 2022, By Astead W. Herndon

With violent crime rates rising and elections looming, progressive prosecutors are facing resistance to their plans to roll back stricter crime policies of the 1990s.

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California lawmakers want to reverse Prop 47; ‘make crime illegal again’

FOX News, By Louis Casiano, February 16, 2022C

As crime continues to concern communities throughout California, Republican state leaders are making efforts to repeal a much-debated measure critics say has emboldened criminals and tied the hands of law enforcement.

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State Action to Narrow the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The Sentencing Project, Feb. 09, 2022 by Richard Mendel

Thanks to a $122 billion infusion of federal funds for public education included in the March 2021 American Rescue Plan, schools and communities have the opportunity to invest vast resources in effective new approaches to close the school-to-prison pipeline. The Sentencing Project has examined the plans submitted by every state for use of these federal funds.

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Op-Ed: Voters wanted big change from Measure J. Why hasn’t L.A. seen it yet?

LA Times by Megan Castillo and Bamby Salcedo, Feb. 7, 2022

More than 2 million voters cast ballots in November 2020 to provide historic support for Measure J — an innovative measure to dedicate at least 10% of Los Angeles County’s locally generated unrestricted funding toward community investments such as youth and small business development, job training, housing services and alternatives to incarceration, with the goal to reduce the impact of racial and economic injustice.

It is now 2022. What has happened since then?

In short, not much for the communities the measure was meant to serve.

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California crime story: The numbers, explained


CalMatters by Nigel Duara, February 3, 2022

Getting a handle on California crime statistics is tricky business, as inconsistent reporting and short-term snapshots can obscure real trends

Crime statistics are a loaded weapon.

They can be pointed in any direction, to mean anything: To law enforcement, rising crime usually means police departments need more officers, or that prison sentences aren’t high enough to deter crime. To criminal justice reform advocates, the same statistics might show that, in context, crime is down, and long-term legislative changes to the criminal code are working.

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Santa Clara County Considered Building a Mental Health Facility Instead of a New Jail. It Chose the Jail

KQED by Adhiti Bandlamudi, Feb 2, 2022

Santa Clara County moved forward last week with plans for a new jail, a move sharply criticized by opponents who for years have urged officials to use the funds for a mental health treatment center instead.

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Governor Newsom Announces Major Mental Health Housing Expansion to Keep Most Vulnerable Off California’s Streets

Governor's Press Office, Monday, January 31, 2022

  • $1.1 billion in new funding for mental and behavioral health programs as part of $14 billion homelessness package
  • New state funding for local partners to get Californians experiencing homelessness the help they need

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Judge OKs California earlier releases for repeat offenders under state's 'three strikes' law

Eyewitness News 7, Saturday, January 22, 2022 

Editorial: Want to stop the prison-to-street pipeline? Pass this bill to provide housing

LA Times Editorial Board, Jan. 20, 2022

...The need for reentry housing hasn’t slowed, though, and California has an unusual, and enormous, surplus of funds, so there’s no reason to delay a program to keep people off the street and reduce criminal recidivism. Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, a Los Angeles Democrat, and several of his colleagues are recrafting the bill to launch a pilot project funded by $200 million from the state’s surplus. If it fails to get out of the Appropriations Committee this week, they will introduce a new bill to accomplish the task. Either route works. It’s time to create and fund the program.

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Lesson of the Day: ‘What It’s Like to Leave Prison During a Pandemic’

NYTimes by By Jeremy Engle, Jan. 13, 2022I

n this lesson, students will learn about the challenges facing people released from prison. Then, they will explore ways to support the formerly incarcerated.

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