NEWS ARCHIVE 2019 and 2018

Ventura Training Center Provides Parolees Path in Firefighting

Spectrum News 1, By Tanya McRae Camarillo,Dec. 26, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court leaves in place ruling barring prosecution of homeless
Reuters, by Dec. 16, 2019, Andrew Chung
The Hidden Cost of Incarceration
Prison costs taxpayers $80 billion a year. It costs some families everything they have.
The Marshall Project By Nicole Lewis and Beatrix Lockwood
Why people are freezing in America’s prisons
It shouldn’t be up to concerned citizens to keep the incarcerated warm in the winter.
Vox, By Roxanna Asgarian
Dec 13, 2019
Rural justice systems low on pretrial resources leave some to languish, die
Shortage of money, attorneys push rural jail populations to explode. In extreme case, Wisconsin teen took his life.
USA Today by Pamela Metzger, Opinion contributor, Dec. 13, 2019
The hidden scandal of US criminal justice?
Rural incarceration has boomed

While big cities are finally putting fewer people in jail, small towns and rural counties are locking up more people than ever

The Guardian, by Jasmine Heiss and Jack Norton,
December 13, 2019
How College In Prison Turns Around Lives And Saves Taxpayers Money
Nov 23, 2019, Evan Gerstmann
Algorithms were supposed to make Virginia judges fairer. What happened was far more complicated
The Washington Post 
Andrew Van Dam, November 19, 2019
Since you asked: Is it me, or is the government releasing less data about the criminal justice system?
Prison Policy Initiative
by Wendy Sawyer, November 14, 2019
The Bureau of Justice Statistics is tasked with collecting, analyzing, and publishing data about the criminal justice system. But its reports are slowing down - and its framing of criminal justice issues is becoming more punitive.
Patrisse Cullors, LA Reform Jails Tackle Mental Health, Mass Incarceration with Mental Health Matters Summit + Day Party
The Root, Jay Connor, 11/15/19
Los Angeles County Works to Transform Criminal Justice Through Collaboration
Erin O’donnell
Next City, October 25, 2019
...In Los Angeles County, which has the largest jail and probation systems in the country, leaders are finding innovative ways to collaborate — sometimes for the first time — within departments, across agencies, and with the community.
For My Incarcerated Clients, There Is No Winning
Ana Galvañ

The Marshall Project, Oct. 17, 2019
“What he really needed, a lawyer couldn’t give him.”

Nearing His Legislative Deadline, Governor Newsom Signs 2 Dozen Crucial Criminal And Juvenile Justice Bills

WitnessLA,  October 9, 2019
Taylor Walker
On Tuesday evening, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he had taken his signing pen to 25 criminal and juvenile justice reform bills, including bills to boost diversion and reentry systems and expand victim services.
Gov. Newsom has until October 13, to sign or veto the bills that remain on his desk.
READ a rundown of Tuesday’s new laws, plus a shortlist of bills that have yet to meet their fate.
Two Prosecutors Were Shaped by 1980s Los Angeles. Now They Have Opposing Views on Criminal Justice.
By Tim Arango
NYTimes, Oct. 3, 2019
George Gascón resigned as San Francisco’s district attorney to consider challenging the incumbent in Los Angeles, Jackie Lacey. Such a race could help define criminal justice reform.

California Lawmakers Approve Ban of For-Profit Prisons and ICE Jails

California lawmakers voted Wednesday to ban private prisons statewide, in a major blow to the for-profit prison industry in the U.S. The legislation also orders the closure of four ICE prisons that can jail up to 4,500 immigrants. The bill now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature. Newsom said in his January inaugural address that California should “end the outrage of private prisons once and for all.”

Also read about it in The Guardian and

Opinion: NYC Should Learn from LA Before Building New Jails
City Limits, September 27, 2019
By Coss Marte and Christopher Marte
LA County May Soon Create A Civil Justice Defense Program To Address The Collateral Consequences Of Incarceration
Witness LA, September 11, 2019
Taylor Walker
Seattle Has Figured Out How to End the War on Drugs While other cities are jailing drug users, Seattle has found another way.
By Nicholas Kristof, Opinion Columnist, Aug. 23, 2019
We asked 3 prisoners about the movement to give them voting rights
Aug 20, 2019, Catherine Kim
Executives Transforming Probation and Parole Initiative
The Chronicle of Social Change
August 19,  Jeremy Loudenback
Today in San Francisco, more than 50 current and former probation and parole chiefs have signed on to a new initiative designed to reduce the number of adults who are under supervision in the country’s local probation and parole systems.
L.A. County Will Explore Possibility of Separating Youth from Probation
The Chronicle of Social Change
August 14, 2019 by Jeremy Loudenback
Gov. Newsom grants pardon to Susan Burton, who assists women returning to society after prison
LA Times, By MAURA DOLAN, AUG. 7, 2019
Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Leads Campaign To Shut Down 'Death Trap' Jails In Los Angeles
BET July 25, 2019, by Rachel Herron
Black Lives Matter co-founder and Reform L.A. Jails chairperson Patrisse Khan-Cullors is fighting to protect incarcerated individuals in Los Angeles and the rights of people suffering from mental health issues.
We must stop sentencing people of color to death in Los Angeles County

The Daily News,
Priscilla Ocen, July 22, 2019

Across the country, people of goodwill increasingly recognize that death penalty is a racist, immoral system that is broken beyond repair. Yet, it appears that Los Angeles County has yet to get the message.

Over 75 Law Professors and Legal Scholars Call for an End to the Death Penalty in Los Angeles County
Update: Los Angeles, July 18, 2019 – A group of over 75 law professors and legal scholars from leading institutions have released an open letter calling for Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey to end the county’s costly and racially-biased death penalty practices.

Governor Newsom Announces Regional Leaders & Statewide Experts who will Advise on Solutions to Combat Homelessness
Jul 16, 2019
U.S. jail populations drop but not for women
PBS Newshour, Jun 30, 2019
Services for the Homeless in South LAKPCC’s Take Two with A Martinez
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and KPCC’s A Martinez with LARRP Steering Committee member and HOPICS Director Veronica Lewis and members of her team, including street outreach workers. Photo by Bryan Chan/Board of Supervisors
California inmates can legally possess marijuana after Prop. 64, court says
Politico, 06/12/2019
By Alexander Nieves
BSCC Board Awards $96m In Prop 47 Grants
SACRAMENTO (June 13, 2019) – The Board of State and Community Corrections today approved grant awards from a voter initiative that reduces from felonies to misdemeanors certain low-level crimes and directs state savings to programs primarily focused on mental health and substance-use disorder treatment.
Ending Mass Incarceration: 
Ideas from Today's Leaders
The Brennan Center for Justice, May 16, 2019
In this remarkable collaboration, the country’s most prominent lawmakers and activists join together to propose ideas for transformative change.
America’s Growing Gender Jail Gap
New York Review of Books,
May 7, 2019, Jacob Kang-Brown and Olive Lu
In California, Agreement On New Rules For When Police Can Use Deadly Force
NPR, May 24, Ben Adler
...Under the agreement made public Thursday, officers will be able to use lethal force only when it is "necessary" and if there are no other options...
Gov. Newsom’s Revised Budget Features Significant New Reform-Minded Criminal Justice Spending
WitnessLA, May 10, 2019
by Taylor Walker
California Tried to Fix Its Prisons. Now County Jails Are More Deadly.
In a 48-hour stretch during January 2018, three men were booked into the Fresno County Jail. One was beaten into a coma. Two died soon afterward. Their cases kicked off a nightmarish year in a local jail where problems trace back to California’s sweeping 2011 prison downsizing and criminal justice reforms.
ProPublica April 24,
by Jason Pohl, The Sacramento Bee, and Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica

L.A. County can safely release and treat thousands of mentally ill inmates. So do it

By The Times Editorial Board, Apr 22, 2019
Who Begs To Go To Prison? California Jail Inmates
Effort to cut prison overcrowding puts some jails in crisis.
The Marshall Project, 04.23.2019
Mentally ill homeless people keep going to jail. But a study says L.A. County can fix that
LA Times, APR 22, 2019

How close is L.A. to building 10,000 houses for homeless people? Here’s a breakdown

LA Times, APR 22, 2019
LA Sheriff Watchdog:
The First Amendment Shouldn't Shield Deputy Cliques, Tattoos From Scrutiny

Prosecutors move to clear 54,000 marijuana convictions in California
APR 01, 2019

Read the Article

Is Prison
Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind
NYTimes Feature, April 17, 2019
By Rachel Kushner
In three decades of advocating for prison abolition, the activist and scholar has helped transform how people think about criminal justice.

Prosecutors move to clear 54,000 marijuana convictions in California
APR 01, 2019

Read the Article

California at a Crossroads: Ending Youth Trauma by Closing Violent DJJ Institutions
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, March 20, 2019
Maureen Washburn
In January, in one of his first acts as Governor, Gavin Newsom pledged to “end youth imprisonment in California as we know it” and called for a radical reorganization of the state’s troubled youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Read more

What Our Community Can Learn From Portugal’s Experience Decriminalizing Drugs
LA Watts Times
Susan Burton. Thursday, 21 March 2019
California bill to ease pathway for former inmates to become firefighters

AIRTALK, KPCC, March 14, 2019
A bill introduced by Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino) last month is looking to help former inmate firefighters pursue the career after their release.
The bill, AB 1211, would ease current regulations to help former convicts who demonstrate “rehabilitation and a desire to work” continue fighting fires after their sentence.
After Incarceration, Former Prisoners Face a Tough Journey Home to Find Work, Reunite with Family and Begin Again
March 26, 2019, BlackPressUSA
By Rachel Holloway, Trice Edney Newswire
The next step for justice reform: Ending the ban on federal Pell Grants for eligible students behind bars
The Hill, 03/20/19
Rap Sheets Haunt Former Inmates. California May Change That.
NYTimes, March 11, 2019, By Timothy Williams
Under a bill now making its way through the California State Legislature, millions of people in the state who have misdemeanor or lower-level felony records could be spared those problems: their criminal records would automatically be sealed from public view once they completed prison or jail sentences.
Is It a Jail? Is It a Hospital? Vote of County Supervisors Exposes Chronic Confusion and Corruption

Justice not Jails, Feb. 17, 2019
By Peter Laarman

Changing the name from “Consolidated Care Treatment Facility” to “Mental Health Treatment Center” actually accomplishes very little and raises more questions than it answers. Read more

In landmark move, L.A. County will replace Men’s Central Jail with mental health hospital for inmates

LATimes, FEB 13, 2019

Los Angeles County supervisors narrowly approved a plan Tuesday to tear down the dungeon-like Men’s Central Jail downtown and build at least one mental health treatment facility in its place.

Placing juveniles in solitary confinement doesn't fix them. In fact, it makes them worse
USA Today, Jan. 11, 2019
Opinion contributors, Jessica Feierman and Jenny Lutz
Do We Really Need Probation and Parole?
By Vincent Schiraldi
The Crime Report | January 24, 2019
A man nine years out of a New York prison proposes marriage to his girlfriend who also has a criminal record. Because it is against the rules to associate with someone with a prior record, his parole is revoked and he is returned to prison for a year─after which he marries the same person, this time with his parole officer’s permission. A Texas woman is sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to vote while on felony probation....
Rikers closure plan will soon begin public review
Politico, 01/22/2019
Placing juveniles in solitary confinement doesn't fix them. In fact, it makes them worse
USA Today, Jan. 11, 2019
Opinion contributors, Jessica Feierman and Jenny Lutz
Plan to create an L.A. County womens' jail in Lancaster faces serious opposition

A controversial women’s jail project that has been in development for years is now facing serious opposition from key stakeholders who are demanding more therapeutic alternatives for women in Los Angeles County’s criminal justice system. Read the article

Read the Editorial!

L.A. County needs to seriously rethink the Mira Loma women's jail

JAN 02, 2019
The criminal justice system was built for men — men’s bodies, men’s psyches, men’s problems. But the fastest-growing contingent of jail and prison inmates is women. They are housed in institutions not built with them in mind and are guarded by officers untrained to meet their needs and challenges. Read the editorial

Congress and President Trump Consider Bi-Partisan Criminal Justice Reform Legislation, The First Step Act,

Here's what it does: (From the Marshall Project)

Measure H Helped 10,000 Homeless People Into Permanent Housing, Officials Say

By NBC Channel 4, City News Service

A half-cent sales tax passed by Los Angeles County voters nearly two years ago to fund homeless programs has been a significant success...
Read More

Immigrants facing deportation, drug offenders and a former state lawmaker receive pardons from Gov. Jerry Brown

LA Times
by John Myers and Jazmine Ulloa, Nov 21, 2018

Read the article



Pacific Standard
Emily Moon,  October 19, 2018

The latest ruling comes as a success for advocates of criminal justice reform.

Read the article

Keep California Safe’ initiative fails to make the November 2018 ballot

By SAL RODRIGUEZ |OPINION | Orange County Register
July 2, 2018

The much-hyped Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 has failed to make the November 2018 ballot.

Read more

Prop. 47 Lessened Racial Disparities in Drug Arrests
Ballot Measure to Counteract the ‘War on Drugs’ Cut Arrests Across California
By Laura Kurtzman on June 21, 2018

Now, a study out of UC San Francisco has quantified the effects of the ballot measure, which was at the leading edge of a national movement to reduce incarceration rates and change the criminal justice approach to substance use disorders.

Read the article

Fixing some of California's tough-on-crime mistakes of the past

San Diego Union Tribune
May 25, 2018
Who overpacked California’s prisons? It was first-term Gov. Jerry Brown, when he signed into law the Uniform Determinate Sentencing Act in 1976. And it was the Legislature’s Democratic majority, who’d sent Brown the act in the first place and then tried to outflank tough-on-crime Republicans by adding one sentence-lengthening provision (or “enhancement”) after another. Read more

California Lawmakers Want to Make it Easier for Returned Citizens to get job Licenses  
California prison inmates are offered training in automotive repair, cosmetology, construction and other fields as part of their rehabilitation. Then, when they get out, state licensing boards often bar them from those professions because of their convictions.


Two Important editorials by the LA Times last month:

Marijuana is now legal in California. Continuing to punish prior offenders is cruel and unnecessary

Marijuana is now legal under California law, but hundreds of thousands of Californians have criminal records for possessing or selling the drug
Read the full editorial

Don’t let this Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf

FEB 13, 2018

Read the full editorial

California's top court strikes down 50-year sentences for juveniles
FEB 26, 2018

The California Supreme Court decided Monday that juveniles may not be sentenced to 50 years or longer in prison for kidnapping, rape and sodomy.

In a 4-3 ruling, the state high court said a 50-year sentence for minors was "functionally equivalent" to life without parole. (read more)

Slavery is alive and kickin'

Pacific Standard Magazine
LEE V. GAINES, NOV 27, 2017

Across the country, minor pot infractions disproportionately affect people of color. Newly enacted legislation in the Golden State is working to ease those penalties.

Read more

LA Times Editorial
NOV 20, 2017

One of the broken promises of the criminal justice system is that a person who completes felony time in prison or jail will leave with a clean slate and a chance to start over. It doesn't work that way. Liberty once lost is rarely fully restored...

Read more

The Marshall Project

Photographer Brian L. Frank captures the lives of men on the fire lines and at home in prison conservation camps.

In response, the state's fire agency, CALFIRE, has mobilized more than 11,000 firefighters.

Of those, 1,500 were inmates from minimum security conservation camps run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where they are trained to work on fire suppression and other emergencies like floods and earthquakes.

See more of the amazing photos

Mike Males
Published: October 30, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO – October 30, 2017 – A new research report released today from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice examines local trends in California’s property crime from 2010 through 2016, a period marked by major justice system reform, including Public Safety Realignment, Prop 47, and Prop 57 (read more)

By Bruce Western and Vincent Schiraldi | July 20, 2017
The Crime Report

In our nation’s expanding discussion about eliminating mass incarceration, advocates, researchers and the media are missing a major contributor to incarcerated populations and a partial deprivation of liberty in its own right.

Mass supervision through probation and parole. (read more)

Prop. 47 got thousands out of prison. Now, $103 million in savings will go towards keeping them out

June 9, 2017, SACRAMENTO, CA – Yesterday, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) announced $103 million dollars in grant awards for community diversion and treatment programs across California. Demonstrating the largest reallocation of prison budget funds to community-based programs, this is a historic opportunity for California to lead the way in ensuring effective treatment, diversion and reentry services for individuals most impacted by our criminal justice system.



The Morality of Government Spending: Who Decides What Gets Funded?

Budgets are moral documents. As a society, we demonstrate our values by what we spend our money on. So when governments draft budgets they show what is important to bureaucrats and politicians, but what if their perspectives are not aligned with the public? And how do we insert what we value into the process?


People with Records Deserve a Fair Chance to Secure Employment
Overall, 31 states and more than 150 cities and counties in America have taken steps to remove barriers to employment and give working people with records a second chance... Read more
Survivors of Violent Crime Raise Their Voices in California to call for a new Approach to Criminal Justice

APR 17, 2018

As the state has rolled back sentencing laws through legislation and voter initiatives, a growing victims' rights movement is pushing for alternatives to incarceration, with greater investment in rehabilitation services and a reevaluation of what it takes to make communities safe.
 Read more

Officials mishandled coronavirus outbreaks at Lompoc and Terminal Island prisons, lawsuits claim

LA Times, May 17, 2020
By Alex Wigglesworthstaff

The American Civil Liberties Union on Saturday filed a pair of class-action lawsuits on behalf of federal prisoners at Lompoc and Terminal Island, claiming officials mishandled coronavirus outbreaks at the facilities that have infected a combined total of 1,775 inmates, killing 10.
Read more

‘We are terrified’: Coronavirus outbreak reported at Chino women’s prison

May 17, 2020 Gabriel Valley Tribune
By Jonah Valdez

The women sat anxiously inside their prison cells at the California Institution for Women in Chino as a guard roamed about their cell block, yelling out an ominous announcement.

A knock on a cell door, the guard said, meant that they tested positive for the coronavirus. They would be told to gather their things and prepare to be isolated for an indefinite amount of days.

Screams filled the air. Women began to hurl questions at the guards.

Read more

Los Angeles needs a new approach to justice: George Gascón

Los Angeles Daily News, May 16, 2020
By George Gascon

Read the Op-Ed

Let Our People Go

A letter from inside Marion Correctional Institution is the voice of those locked in cages and discarded during this pandemic.
NYTimes, May 13, 2020
By Michelle Alexander, Contributing Opinion Writer


California’s Jail Population Has Plummeted during COVID-19

PPIC, May 8, 2020
Joseph Hayes, Heather Harris

When the COVID-19 crisis began, state and county governments recognized that overcrowded jail conditions could pose unacceptable health risks for inmates and staff. As the crisis has unfolded, all counties have taken steps to decrease their jail populations. Some have made steeper reductions than others, and some of the measures that have facilitated these reductions—reducing pretrial detention and setting bail at zero for many crimes—may have longer-term significance as California considers whether to eliminate money bail.

Read More

3 more inmates die at Chino prison as coronavirus infections continue to spread

LA Times, May 8, 2020
By Richard Winton, staff writer

As an outbreak of the coronavirus continues to rage inside the California Institution for Men in Chino, three more inmates at the prison have died, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Friday.

Read more

Authorities nationwide are reporting an uptick in fatal opioid overdoses during social distancing.

The Daily Beast,  May. 03
Kate Briquelet,Senior Reporter
Authorities nationwide are reporting an uptick in fatal opioid overdoses during social distancing.

Read more

People freed from prison during coronavirus may face big risks on the outside

The Conversation, April 27, 2020
by Daina StanleyI strongly support humane measures to reduce the risks to incarcerated individuals, correctional and medical workers and communities. But historical injustices, systemic inequalities and harsh criminal justice ideologies and practices often create barriers to safe community re-entry, particularly for the most vulnerable individuals in prisons.

My research highlights complexities that must be confronted before individuals can be safely released to the community. I have seen far too many individuals released from custody — often despite the best efforts of correctional caseworkers — to precarious circumstances.

The Coronavirus Is Hitting Our Nation's Prisons and Jails Hard.
And It's Exposing a Crisis That Existed Long Before the Outbreak

Time Magazine, April 22, 2020
By Joyce White Vance
The news from the nation’s prisons and jails is increasingly grim. On Sunday, there were reports that 1,828 people incarcerated at Marion County Correctional Facility in Ohio, 73% of its total population, have tested positive for COVID-19. One staff member has died and another 109 have tested positive. Similar reports are coming in from federal and state facilities across the country. But this crisis in our criminal justice system isn’t due to the coronavirus. Rather, the pandemic is exposing a pre-existing crisis in our prisons that we are long overdue to fix.
Read more

New Data: Second Chance Pell Continues to Open Doors for More Students

The Vera Institute's Think Justice Blog, April 21, 2020
By Margaret diZerega and Ruth-Delaney

Read More

Amid Pandemic, State Releases Thousands of Prisoners — But Will They Have Support at Home?

KQED By Marisa Lagos
April 13, 2020

By the end of today, the state will have released 3,500 nonviolent offenders early from state prison, and local jails have already let thousands more low-level inmates go — but advocates for prisoners are worried that those coming home amid a global pandemic won’t have the tools to succeed and stay healthy.

Read more

Let’s make sure that coronavirus doesn’t make hiring inequality even worse

Cal Matters, By Jessica Quintana
April 11, 2020

Read More

California Makes Major Bail Change To Slow The Spread Of Coronavirus In Jails
Bail will be set at $0 for most misdemeanors and low-level felony offenses.
The Appeal by Kira Lerner Apr 06, 2020
The California Judicial Council on Monday issued a statewide emergency order setting bail at $0 for most misdemeanor and lower-level felony offenses. The sweeping measure is the state’s latest effort to empty its jails to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Preventing Community Spread of COVID-19 in Sites like Jails and Emergency Shelter

April 3, 2020, National League of Cities
By NLC Staff
Unhoused people staying in emergency shelter, individuals who are incarcerated or living in residential treatment programs, halfway houses and residential re-entry programs are at a unique risk for the spread of COVID-19.
Why Jails Are So Important in the Fight Against Coronavirus
NYTimes, The Upshot, By Anna Flagg and Joseph Neff
Published March 31, 2020 Updated April 2, 2020
With about 200,000 people flowing into and out of jails every week, there are great risks not only for the detained, but also for jail workers and surrounding communities.
Coronavirus Pandemic: Santa Rita Jail Inmate Tests Positive; 77 New Cases In Alameda County
CBS SF Bay Area, April 4, 2020
L.A. County presented with ambitious plan to change its justice system to system of care
CalMatters, by Kelly Lytle
March 29, 2020
Arizona Dept. of Corrections whistleblower discusses health risks of working in prison during pandemic
Fox10 Phoenix, By Matt Galka
Published April 1, 2020

California’s State Juvenile Justice Agency Freezes New Detention Commitments

March 25, 2020, by Jeremy Loudenback, Senior Editor
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would stop sending adults and juveniles to its correctional system, which includes the state’s juvenile justice agency.

Why Hasn’t the Number of People in U.S. Jails Dropped?

Longer average stays are keeping the population high at a time of declining admissions
PEW, March 27, 2020
By: Jake Horowitz & Tracy Velázquez
Historic County-Community Partnership Takes The Vote Behind Bars In LA County
Witness LA, by Taylor Walker
February 28, 2020 
....In the program’s first day — and the first day of early voting in California — nearly 2,200 incarcerated Angelenos were registered to vote — more than any previous year, according to Sheriff Villanueva....
...The sheriff, registrar-recorder, the ALCU of Southern California, the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership, Susan Burton’s A New Way of Life, and the League of Women Voters – Los Angeles, are making history, Logan said, by ensuring incarcerated Angelenos have unprecedented access to voting education and opportunities this election...
How Jackie Lacey’s and George Gascón’s time in office shapes the L.A. County D.A.'s race
LA Times By James Queally
Feb. 18, 2020
Jackie Lacey and George Gascón spent more than three decades each working for and eventually running some of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. Yet, their visions to lead the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office couldn’t be more different.
Florida loses appeals court ruling on felon voting law
Politico, By Gary Fineout
A legal and political battle over voting rights in Florida reached another milestone on Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled that a law limiting the voting rights of people with felony convictions was unconstitutional.
Debating Measure R:
Expanding Civilian Oversight Of LA Sheriff’s Department
KPCC AirTalk
February 13, 2020
On March 3, Los Angeles County will vote on Measure R, which would give the L.A. Sheriff Department’s civilian oversight board increased subpoena power. It would also require the county to research and publish a plan that uses mental health treatment to lower the jail population.
Mass Incarceration, Then and Now
The New Yorker Radio Hour
January 17, 2020, By David Remnick
What Would a World Without Prisons Be Like?
The New Yorker Radio Hour
January 24, 2020, By David Remnick
5 arrested in $3.2 million Southern California sober living home fraud scheme
Orange County Register, January 17, 2020
by Scott Schwebke and Teri Sforza
Millions of dollars were swindled from an undisclosed insurance company in an alleged scam described as ‘appalling’
Sacramento Kings and Incarcerated Individuals Come Together For First NBA 'Play For Justice' Event at Folsom State Prison, Dec 12, 2019
"Today, the Sacramento Kings, with the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign tipped off a series of basketball games at correctional facilities between incarcerated individuals and NBA players and coaches."
2019 was the year L.A. County finally said ‘no’ to new jails

LA Times
, By The Times Editorial Board
Dec. 26, 2019

Jails are crowded with mentally ill people because states including California closed mental hospitals over several decades beginning in the 1960s without building out the system of community-based mental-health care they had promised. Jail populations are disproportionately black and Latino, in part because of a criminal justice system laced with overly punitive policies that prey on poverty and sentences that punish multiple generations. Building new jails — even ostensibly more humane ones — may sometimes be unavoidable, but it consumes resources that could otherwise be used for correcting the problems and improving lives.
This year — 2019 — was the year that the Board of Supervisors got the message.
California Is Letting Thousands of Prisoners Out Early. Its Housing Crisis Is Keeping Them From Starting Over.
Mother Jones, December 2019
By Marisa Endicott
Many people end up in 12-step programs even if they don’t have addiction issues, or in other facilities that resemble the prisons they just left.
Read the article
Where Prisons Are A Last Resort
How Finland & Norway Cut Prisons, Increased Social Programs, and Boosted Public Safety
Nov 23 by By Richie “Reseda” Edmond-Vargas, Co-Founder, Initiate Justice
“You know what the difference is between Finland and the U.S.? In the U.S., you have to earn being a human.”
Appeals Court Upholds California’s Revamped Felony-Murder Accomplice Law
Courthouse News Service
Martin Macias Jr, November 19, 2019
Los Angeles unveils first ever bridge housing project for trans women

Casa de Zulma aims to help vulnerable community members get back on their feet.
USC Annenberg Media
By Hayley Smith, November 14
Voter Registration Outreach - Getting Inside California Jails
LARRP's Managing Director, Elder Joe Paul will be the guest on the Accelerated Radio station show "Living On Assignment" to talk about voter registration outreach inside California jails.
Listen HERE to the show that aired 11/10/2019 at 9:00pm

Criminal justice reform targets court fines, fees

The state’s bewildering system of court fines and fees is now the target of reformers, who say it unfairly punishes the poor and is a bad way to fund the court system
By Greg Moran, The San Diego Union Tribune,  Oct. 22, 2019
Read More
Parolees Help Battle Saddleridge Fire as Part of New Reentry Program in Ventura County
October 14, 2019,
KTLA5, By Kristina Bravo

How Far Will California Take Criminal-Justice Reform?

By Dana Goodyear
The New Yorker, October 5, 2019
Read the Story

The 1619 Project

We would like to highlight a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.
It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
We would especially like to highlight this article by Bryan Stevenson from the 1619 Series:

A Visit with My (incarcerated) Mother

The Hill - Opinion
September 24, 2019, By Kathy Morse And Dr. Homer Venters
I Host a Popular Podcast. I’m Also in Prison.
The Marshall Project,
September 26,2019, Rahsaan Thomas
“I’m hungry to make meaning out of destruction.”
Contra Costa to consider waiving certain court fees
The Mercury News
September 13, 2019, By Annie Sciacca
The moratorium would include probation report fees, public defenders’ fees and fees for alternative custody programs such as electronic monitoring and work alternatives to jail. Fees would be waived for everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
Los Angeles County Votes To Stop Construction Of New Jail-Like Facility, Adding Momentum To National Abolition Movement
The Intercept
by Francisco Aviles Pino, August 22 2019
....On August 13, the movement had a pivotal victory. Following months of teach-ins, public forums, and office visits by JusticeLA, the Board of Supervisors voted to halt a $2.2 billion contract to build a gargantuan, jail-like mental health facility. Instead, the board will investigate how the county could invest in treatment programs and alternatives to incarceration.
The win is notable in part because it was driven not by reform politics but by an explicit call for prison abolition.
Why Los Angeles Officials Voted to Cancel an Almost $2 Billion Contract Thursday: A shift in thinking about jails and mental health.
NY Times,
Aug. 15, 2019, Jill CowanRead more
California Governor Promises More Changes to “Biased, Random” Justice System
Signing a new law on police shootings, Gavin Newsom says he’s sending a message.
The Marshall Project
August 19, 2019, Abbie Vansickle
Restoring Pell Grants To Prisoners Benefits Us All

Detroit Free Press
August 16, 2019, Greg Handel and Margaret diZerega

Read More

Prison Systems Can Respect The Religious Rights Of Muslims.
State Government Should Ensure They Do.
The Appeal, Vaidya Gullapalli Jul 29, 2019
Ex-Cons Find Second Chances Easier to Get in Tight Labor Market
Leslie Patton, Bloomberg News, July 16, 2019
Algorithms Should Not Determine Freedom: MIT Researchers Affirm Community Demands.
Medium, Ivette Ale, July 17, 2019
To their credit, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (BOS) and the California legislature have been attempting to reform this system (money bail). Unfortunately, both state and county have sought to replace money bail with an equally unfair and dangerous system — pretrial risk assessment.
Read More
Who’s helping the 1.9 million women released from prisons and jails each year?
Prison Policy Initiative, by Wendy Sawyer, July 19, 2019
Reentry and Opportunity Center Improves Outcomes for Probation Clients
By Cora Jackson-Fossett, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Sentinel, July 4, 2019
The new Los Angeles County Reentry Opportunity Center aims to increase successful outcomes for probation clients. Described as a one-stop shop, the facility houses community and county service providers to assist clients with a second chance to change the trajectory of their life. The DOORS or Developing Opportunities Offering Reentry Solutions section contains representatives to aid with housing, jobs, training, legal assistance, mental health services and more.
Why Los Angeles Could Be the Setting for the ‘Most Important D.A. Race’ in the U.S.
NYTimes, June 21, 2019
By Tim Arango
Competing approaches — pushing to reform mass incarceration versus a more traditional get-tough-on crime tact — are likely to clash in the race for district attorney of Los Angeles. George Gascón, the district attorney of San Francisco, is weighing a return home to Los Angeles, where he was a police officer in the 1990s, to challenge Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles’s incumbent top prosecutor, setting the stage for what activists and experts say will be the most important district attorney’s race in America.
See the ACLU Report and LARRP Press Release below for more on the Death Penalty in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, only people of color are sentenced to death
The Guardian, 18 Jun 2019
By SamLevin
The county’s prosecutor has won death sentences for 22 defendants, none of them white, report shows
LA County Supes Expand Innovative Program Proven To Break The Wash, Rinse, Repeat Pattern Of Mental Illness, Incarceration, And Homelessness
WitnessLA, May 14, 2019
by Celeste Fremon
Counties rarely collect fees imposed on those formerly jailed. So why keep charging them?
LA Times OpEd By Anne Stuhldreher
MAY 16, 2019
Every month people like Anthony Robles struggle with a harrowing choice: to pay rent and bills, or pay fees that will keep them out of jail.
How Private Equity Is Turning Public Prisons Into Big Profits
The Nation, April 30, 2019
By Tim Requarth 
In recent years, corporations have privatized almost every part of the public prison system. Now, PE firms are swooping in, seeking lavish returns for investors.
An Ex-Prisoner of America’s Drug War Speaks Out: It’s Not Over Yet
The Crime Report | April 17, 2019
By Anthony Papa
Bernie Sanders Is Right: We Should Let the Boston Marathon Bomber Vote
Reason, by JOE SETYON | 4.23.2019
Incarcerated people are already paying their debt to society. What good does it do the rest of the population to take away their right to have a say?

21 more studies showing racial disparities in the criminal justice system
The Washington Post, April 9
By Radley Balko, Opinion writer

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First major drug distribution company, former executives, criminally charged in opioid crisis

NBC News, April 23, 2019
By Tom Winter and Elisha Fieldstadt

California Death Penalty Suspended; 737 Inmates Get Stay of Execution

NYTimes, By Tim Arango
March 12, 2019

Read Article

Bias in the justice system is real, and the death penalty reveals it
LA Times, Op-ed, MAR 21, 2019
Van Jones pushes for justice reforms with Lamont
Ken Dixon
AP, March 18, 2019
Gavin Newsom’s death penalty moratorium could turn the abolitionist tide in California

MAR 13, 2019

Read the Op-Ed

The Case for Expunging Criminal Records
A new study shows the benefits of giving people a clean slate.
NYTimes, Op-Ed, March 20, 2019
By J.J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr
Professors Prescott and Starr teach at the University of Michigan Law School.
Fed Up With Probation’s Ongoing Failure To Spend Juvenile Justice $ Millions On Proven Programs For LA County’s Kids, The Supes Make A Radical Move
witnessLA March 26, 2019 by Celeste Fremon
On Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a new motion that will put most of the power to choose how a large pot of state money gets spent into the hands of the county’s Juvenile Justice Coordinating Counsel (JJCC), a mostly unknown voting body that is crammed with youth experts and advocates. Prior to this shift, the funds were almost entirely controlled by LA County Probation, a situation that the board decided wasn’t working.
Teaching in America’s prisons has taught me to believe in second chances
The Conversation, March 18, 2019
More mothers are ending up behind bars. Meeting the needs of their children is becoming a bigger priority
By Anissa Gray, CNN
CNN, March 18, 2019
The next step for justice reform: Ending the ban on federal Pell Grants for eligible students behind bars
The Hill, 03/20/19
Police accountability in Los Angeles is heading backwards
LA Times, MAR 20, 2019
After Los Angeles voters approved a ballot measure to remake a key part of the police disciplinary process, City Council President Herb Wesson promised a series of hearings around the city on LAPD reform and the kinds of complaints about policing that have riveted the nation’s attention over the last several years: Excessive force. Dishonesty. Accountability. Discipline. Transparency. There would be ample opportunity for public input. Everything would be done in the open.
"There's not one subject I want to duck," Wesson told The Times in May 2017. "I want to look at every aspect of this."
What a crock.
1.5 million felons can now vote in Florida because of these men
New York Post, March 16, 2019
By Salena Zito
California must double-down on prison rehabilitation

CALMatters Guest Commentary | Feb. 24, 2019 | By Adnan Khan

The State Auditor recently issued an audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s in-prison rehabilitation programs with a conclusion that these programs did not reduce recidivism rates. Read more

Anti-recidivism efforts falling short, audit says

Report suggests state prisons aren’t meeting ambitious goals on inmate rehabilitation.

LA Times, Feb 16, 2019, By Jazmine Ulloa
SACRAMENTO — California set ambitious new goals in 2012 to help state inmates transition into society and infused the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation with more funding to fulfill the mandate. But a state audit released last month found corrections officials have failed to connect many prisoners with services, monitor rehabilitation programs and keep people away from incarceration.
Why California’s Default Mental Institutions Are Now Jails and Prisons

Justice Not Jails, Feb. 8, 2019 By Jocelyn Wiener
Read the article

Pepper Spray Is Used Too Often To 'Subdue Youth' In LA's Juvenile Justice System
Opponents of California Justice Reforms Prepare for Battle
The Crime Report
By TCR Staff | January 22, 2019
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva defends reinstating deputy fired over abuse allegations
By MAYA LAU, LA Times, JAN 22, 2019
Despite an emphasis on inmate rehab, California recidivism rate is 'stubbornly high'
LA Times, JAN 31, 2019
The Appeal, Jan 23, 2019
Patrisse Cullors, Lex Steppling
Los Angeles County’s jail system incarcerates tens of thousands of people at a multi-billion dollar cost. The communities most impacted by mass incarceration have had enough.
The People v. Melina Abdullah
As the city cracks down on free speech, Black Lives Matter L.A. leader Melina Abdullah faces eight criminal misdemeanor charges stemming from her activism.
Black women punished for self-defense must be freed from their cages

The Guardian, Thu 3 Jan 2019
Mariame Kaba
Black women have always been vulnerable to violence in the US. We have to address the systemic and cultural issues that contribute to this...
Read the article

How the FIRST STEP Act Became Law - and What Happens Next
The making of a historic criminal justice reform bill

Brennan Center for Justice, January 4, 2019
Ames Grawert, Tim Lau

Last month, the FIRST STEP Act was signed into law - a major win for the movement to end mass incarceration. Read the article

Jerry Brown Becomes Most Forgiving Governor In Modern CA History

By CALmatters, News Partner | Dec 27, 2018
In keeping with eight years of holiday tradition, Gov. Jerry Brown issued 143 pardons this week. Since 2011, he has pardoned 1,332 inmates.

Read the article

Prop. 47 spared offenders from prison, but they may find county jail harsher

San Francisco Chronicle Nov. 23, 2018, By Kerry Rudd

Read the article

Why Is Karl Taylor Dead?
Our prisons are our mental wards. One fatal case in New York shows where that can lead.

The Marshall Project, By TOM ROBBINS, November 27, 2018

Read the article

The Scanner: Alameda County to drop criminal justice fees; the problem with pot DUIs

Read the article

In historic upset, Alex Villanueva beats incumbent Jim McDonnell in race for Los Angeles County sheriff

LA Times| NOV 26, 2018 | By MAYA LAU

Read the story

Women Ignored in Incarceration Reform
Justice Not Jails, October 21, 2018

Women are the fastest-growing population in U.S. jails, but the effect this has on families has been largely ignored, a New York conference was told Wednesday.
Implementing long-term, meaningful solutions for women and families remain too few and far between, experts said at a three-person panel unveiling a new initiative aimed at reforming criminal justice system to better serve women.

Read the Article

Jim Crow’s Lasting Legacy At The Ballot Box

The Marshall Project
Denying voting rights to people with felony convictions has roots in racist laws.

Read the Opinion Piece

How young is too young for jail? California doesn't have an answer, but it should

LATimes Editorial Board, AUG 11, 2018
When is someone too young to go to jail? Even if it’s a juvenile jail or a so-called probation camp, surely such institutions are not the right place for 8-year-olds, no matter what crimes they may have committed. But how old is old enough? Is it 9? 10? What’s the age threshold for jail?

Read the Opinion Piece

No, Prop 47 didn't de-criminalize misdemeanors

Read the editorial

Prisoners who risk their lives during Calif. wildfires shouldn't be shut out of profession
Katherine Katcher, Sonja Tonnesen and Neeraj Kumar, Opinion contributors Nov. 3, 2017
They are skilled. They sacrifice for $1 per hour. But once inmates finish their sentence, laws bar them from the job

Read the editorial

To build, or not to build, a new L.A. County jail

Hundreds of people pack the Hollywood United Methodist Church on this blustery January evening to hear from Johnson and other leaders of JusticeLA, a group formed to fight what members are calling the planned expansion of the Los Angeles County jail system. Read more


04/21/2018 Asha Bandele of the Drug Policy Alliance interview on MIC:

"Prince could still be alive today if America didn’t shame people for using drugs." Asha talks about some of the things learned on a recent trip to Portugal. Members of LARRP were on that trip.

Watch here


Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs. Now something's being done.

NBC News May 26, 2018
Half the states bar ex-cons from getting the occupational licences they need to re-enter the workforce. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say it doesn't make sense. Read more

Los Angeles Activists Join Delegation to Portugal March 19-22 to Learn from Country’s Groundbreaking Drug Decriminalization Policy

CONTACT: Troy Vaughn,

Press Release
Voter Registration Makes Inroads in Unexpected Territory: County Jails

LA Times, FEB 26, 2018

Read the article

Vice News Tonight Features LARRP, Drug Policy Alliance, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Public Defenders Office Expungement Clinic

Don't Stop Now:
California Leads the Nation in Using Public Higher Education to Address Mass Incarceration - Will We Continue?

Corrections College of California Report

Scores of Californians have spent the past three years laboring to accomplish the unprecedented: bringing together our enormous criminal justice and public higher education systems to build a new generation of college students and graduates.

The reasons why are clear - higher education reduces recidivism, changes lives, and builds stronger communities. We can no longer consign incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women to ending their education with a GED; they, like all of us, deserve the opportunities that hard work and a college degree create.