In the NEWS 2024

LARRP posts relevant news and articles in this section.

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

Even prosecutors agree: Bringing people home from prison can make communities safer

Sacramento Bee Opinion BY Phil Ting And Hillary Blout, April 30, 2024 5:00 AM

Assembly Bill 2942, a 2019 California law we crafted that allows district attorneys to revisit old cases in which the prison sentences were harsh and are no longer in the interest of justice. California’s re-sentencing law just makes sense — so much so, that four other states have passed similar laws.

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DCHS Celebrates Ribbon Cuttings For Crisis Care Centers

DHCS News Release, April 29, 2024

SACRAMENTO — The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) celebrated the addition of two new facilities that will provide lifesaving treatment for Californians with mental health and substance use disorders (SUD). This week saw two ribbon-cutting ceremonies that are bringing new prevention, treatment, and recovery facilities to Los Angeles and Sonoma counties, adding new capacity for much-needed drug and alcohol treatment programs, mental health wellness services, and recovery support. These are the first of many community treatment sites that are under construction now in 49 counties, and even more sites will be funded and built, thanks to recently approved Proposition 1 bonds, in 2025 and 2026.

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Restorative justice conference sparks synodal dialogue in San Diego

Black Catholic Messenger, Nate Tinner-Williams, April 27, 2024

Over 100 practitioners, formerly incarcerated persons, bishops, and other ministers gathered to promote themes of healing and mercy in criminal justice.

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4 L.A. County probation officers placed on leave due to continued violence at juvenile facility

KTLA5, by Travis Schlepp, Apr 26, 2024

The suspensions relate to multiple incidents of “youth-on-youth violence” at the embattled juvenile detainment facility in Downey, officials said.

Probation Department Chief Guillermo Viera Rosa said these suspensions are part of a concerted effort to “root out” staff that he says are responsible for perpetuating a “culture of violence, drugs, or abuse” at the county’s juvenile institutions.

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Nonprofit opens wellness center

Antelope Valley Press, By Julie Drake, Apr 26, 2024

Facility will assist those who are affected by justice system
LANCASTER — Paving the Way Foundation founder and executive director Janie Hodge and guests celebrated a milestone achievement Thursday morning with the inauguration of the nonprofit agency’s new Wellness Center to support individuals impacted by the justice system.

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Opinion: California law requires police to fix these bad policies. So why haven’t they?

LA Times, By Todd Fries, April 24, 2024

Dozens of people across California have been wrongly convicted of crimes largely because of law enforcement officers’ flawed handling of eyewitness evidence.

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Dignitaries from the State and LA County will converge in Lancaster

on Thursday April 25th for the Inauguration of Paving the Way’s newWellness Center, expanding behavioral health services in the region.

Lancaster, CA - on April 25, 2024 at 10:00am, Paving the Way Foundation (PTW) will welcome
state and local dignitaries, leaders in the reentry sector, and members of the community for a
Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for their new Wellness Center at 1729 West Avenue
J, Lancaster, CA 93534. The new Wellness Center was funded by the CA Department of
Healthcare Services’ Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program (BHCIP), which aims
to expand the reach and scope of behavioral health services across the state.

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California to expand re-entry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals. Here’s how they work

CALMATTERS, By Levi Sumagaysay, April 24, 2024

As California closes prisons and shifts its focus to rehabilitation, it is expanding programs that help formerly incarcerated people transition back into society.

The state’s Corrections Department is touting its male and female community re-entry programs as among its most successful tools in helping former inmates become self-sufficient after they get out of prison.

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California women’s prison rocked by ‘rape club’ abuse scandals to be closed

LA Times By Richard Winton and Keri Blakinger, April 15, 2024

A women’s prison in California so plagued by sexual abuse that it was known among inmates and workers as the “rape club” will be closed, the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced Monday.

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LA Supes Reorganize Men’s Central Jail Closure Efforts

Witness LA, April 14, 2024 by Taylor Walker

On Tuesday, April 9, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to move the county’s Jail Closure Implementation Team (JCIT) out of one department and into another, and to “empower” JCIT to actually close the dangerously run-down Men’s Central Jail, a goal the county has been working toward for more than a decade.

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State Board Allows Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall To Remain Open Despite Concerns From Advocates, Families

The LAist, By Robert Garrova, Apr 11, 2024 5:18 PM

“L.A. appears to have remedied the outstanding items of non-compliance,” said Linda Penner, chair of the state board. “I also feel a need to point out that the problems in L.A. are long-standing and serious and this recommendation was not easy to formulate.”

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Center for Living and Learning in Van Nuys Offers Second Chances

by Maria Luisa Torres, San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol, April 10, 2024

April is National Second Chance Month; local nonprofit helps individuals after prison, drug treatment and homelessness

When Maria Alexander moved to LA at age 18 to go to film school in the 1980s, she never imagined the perilous journey that awaited her. Within a few years, she went from a hopeful college student full of aspirations to the depths of despair due to substance abuse.

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Prosecutors put men on death row. This California D.A. wants to take them off

LA Times, By Anita Chabria, April 4, 2024

Capital punishment in California exists in law, but in practicality ended in 2019 when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered death row to be dismantled.

Still, 625 men and 20 women remain incarcerated with death sentences, facing the unlikely but possible prospect that under a different governor, they could be executed. About one-third of the condemned are Black.

In recent months, Santa Clara County Dist. Atty. Jeff Rosen, once a prosecutor who believed in capital punishment and one who rejects association with the progressive prosecutor movement, has been quietly preparing to ask courts to change the penalties of 14 men from his county who are waiting for that ultimate sentence to be carried out.

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LARRP Celebrates April Second Chance Month With Resource Fairs And Awareness Raising

LARRP Press Release, April 3, 2024

Second Chance Month has been observed every April since 2017, and it is an opportunity to learn about the vast number of Americans living with a criminal conviction (1 in 3), the challenges and barriers to successful reentry after incarceration, as well as reflect on the many stories of return and resilience.

“Without a second chance and frankly many more, I would be incarcerated or homeless and my children would be without a mother,” said LARRP Steering Committee Member Maria Alexander, who is also the Executive Director of the Center for Living and Learning.

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Criminal justice reform is alive. Thank conservatives

LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, April 3, 2024

The Safer Supervision Act is a bipartisan bill that would shorten post-prison supervision upon a showing that public safety would not be negatively affected.

Criminal justice reform has deep roots in political conservatism. Some of the most meaningful recent sentencing reforms have come from states like Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. The organization Right on Crime and other conservative reform groups draw on religious traditions that stress repentance and forgiveness, plus a deep concern over government expansion and waste — including in public safety and punishment.

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Newsom has approved three California prison closures but resists pressure to shutter more

LA Times, By Anabel Sosa, April 1, 2024

ov. Gavin Newsom went far beyond the promise he made in his first year in office to close at least one California state prison. But now, he is resisting calls from criminal justice advocates and liberal state lawmakers to shutter five more penitentiaries.

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Days before Easter, Newsom announces dozens of pardons and commutation

LA Times, By Hannah Wiley, Taryn Luna, March 29, 2024

Days before Easter, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday moved to commute sentences for 18 people, issue pardons for 37 others and submit a pardon application for an award-winning San Quentin podcaster, Earlonne Woods.

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Why was 2023 such a deadly year in Los Angeles County jails? It depends on whom you ask

LA Times, By Keri Blakinger, Staff Writer, March 26, 2024

Though the number of people in the county’s lockups is roughly a third less today than what it was a decade ago, the number of fatalities has risen so much that the annual death rate has more than doubled in that time frame. Suicides are slightly down after a sharp spike in 2021, but natural deaths are up, killings are up, and overdoses are way up compared to 10 years ago.

Yet no one seems to agree on why.

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The Invisible Labor of Women Who Love Incarcerated People

LA Progressive, Rachel Zarrow And Christopher Blackwell, Mar 25, 2024

Just as they are tasked with holding their families together before and during their loved one’s imprisonment, women frequently have to take the lead in picking up the pieces when someone comes home.

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California jails are holding thousands fewer people, but far more are dying in them

CAL Matters, By Nigel Duara And Jeremia Kimelman
March 25, 2024

People are dying in custody at record rates across California. They’re dying in big jails and small jails, in red counties and blue counties, in rural holding cells and downtown mega-complexes. They’re dying from suicide, drug overdoses and the catch-all term natural causes.

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Gascón Launches 1st Interfaith Advisory Board in LA County District Attorney History

The Davis Vanguard, March 24, 2024,By Cindy Chen

LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has made history by inaugurating the office’s first-ever Interfaith Advisory Board, the sixth advisory board formed by Gascón since he assumed office in December 2020.

Gascón emphasized the pivotal role of faith-based organizations in advocating for marginalized and underserved populations within social justice movements, stating: “Faith-based organizations have long been at the forefront of social justice movements, advocating for the rights of marginalized and underserved populations. Our County is a rich tapestry of cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds, and it’s imperative that our criminal justice system reflects and respects this diversity.”

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New LA County fire camp in Calabasas welcomes former foster kids, ex-prisoners

The live-in fire camp offers firefighting training to men seeking a new path in life
LA Daily News, Staff Report, March 21, 2024

L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Lindsey Horvath joined the county’s Justice, Care and Opportunities Department and others on Thursday, March 21, to welcome the first group of men who will live in the Los Angeles County Training Center Fire Camp in Calabasas.

The camp is a live-in, voluntary project that offers firefighting training and other training especially to “those who are justice involved, former foster system impacted, and veterans,” according to a prepared statement.

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Council takes next steps in reforms for police accountability

2 Urban Girls, 2UG Staff, March 20, 2024

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to approve a motion to advance reform options for police accountability, including creating the ability for the Chief of Police to fire officers, and reform and repeal the all-civilian Board of Rights. The motion, introduced by Councilmembers Tim McOsker and Hugo Soto-Martínez, will return for final language from the City Attorney before appearing on the November 2024 ballot.

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Evidence Does Not Support the Use of the Death Penalty

Scientific American, by the Editors, March 19, 2024

Capital punishment must come to an end. It does not deter crime, is not humane and has no moral or medical basis

Capital punishment was halted in the U.S. in 1972 but reinstated in 1976, and since then, nearly 1,600 people have been executed. To whose gain? Study after study shows that the death penalty does not deter crime, puts innocent people to death, is racially biased, and is cruel and inhumane. It is state-sanctioned homicide, wholly ineffective, often botched, and a much more expensive punishment than life imprisonment. There is no ethical, scientifically supported, medically acceptable or morally justifiable way to carry it out.

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A Hold That Won’t Let Go: A System Lacks Access to Mental Health Resources

Black Voice News, by Aryana Noroozi, March 19, 2024

Over the past decade, the number of incarcerated individuals in California jails with an active mental health case has risen by 63%, according to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

An estimated 18% of the general population has a mental health condition, while that proportion jumps to more than 37% for those in prison according to an analysis by the California Budget and Policy Center. This is true across the full spectrum of diagnoses, including bipolar disorders.

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Man Exonerated after Nearly Two Decades Incarceration – Wrongful Conviction Marks 5th Los Angeles County Exoneration in 2 Weeks

Davis Vanguard By Praniti Gulyani, March 19, 2024

Marking the fifth exoneration of 2024, and the thirteenth exoneration under District Attorney George Gascón’s administration here in Los Angeles County, Stephen Patterson was released March 13 after two decades in prison for a South LA murder he did not commit.

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What happens to detainees if state shuts down LA County juvenile halls?
No one knows

Pasedena Star News, by Jason Henry, March 17, 2024

The Los Angeles County Probation Department does not have a contingency plan ready for the possibility the state will force it to close its two largest juvenile detention facilities on April 16, a situation branded as "irresponsible" by one oversight commissioner.

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Warden is ousted as FBI raids California women’s prison known as the ‘rape club’

LA Times By Richard Winton, March 12, 2024

FBI agents raided a federal women’s prison in California this week so plagued by sexual abuse that it was known among inmates and workers as the “rape club.”

The action coincided with the ouster of the new warden from the federal correctional institution in Dublin. Warden Art Dulgov — just a few months into his tenure — and three other top managers were removed from their positions Monday by the federal Bureau of Prisons. Dulgov was the third new leader of the low-security prison since Warden Ray T. Garcia, who, along with more than half a dozen employees, was convicted of sexually assaulting multiple women serving time there.

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The Whole Pie 2024: Women’s Mass Incarceration

LA Progressive, by Aleks Kajstura And Wendy Sawyer, Mar 6, 2024

This report provides a detailed view of the 190,600 women and girls incarcerated in the United States and how they fit into the even broader picture of correctional control.

With growing public attention to the problem of mass incarceration, people want to know about women’s experiences with incarceration. How many women are held in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities in the United States? Why are they there? How are their experiences different from men’s? These are important questions, but finding the answers requires not only disentangling the country’s decentralized and overlapping criminal legal systems, but also unearthing the frustratingly limited data that’s broken down by gender.

Read the Article

Read the Whole Report

Probation employee arrested for sexual activity with detained youth

Two Urban Girls, by 2UG Staff, March 11, 2024

On March 7, 2024, during an investigation being conducted by investigators with the Los Angeles County Probation Department’s Juvenile Safety and Welfare Task Force into a phone recovered from a youth housed at Dorothy Kirby Center, the department’s Chief Safety and Security Officer became aware of a sexual relationship involving an on-duty female Probation Officer with a male youth detainee.

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The Life of an Incarcerated Transgender Woman

Everyday Injustice Podcast Episode 131: March 04, 2024

How does LA County’s new bail system work? And who gets released without having to pay?

Long Beach Post, by Jason Ruiz, Mar 2, 2024

These new so-called “Pre-Arraignment Release Protocols” (PARP) have been in place since October, and representatives from the court updated county agencies this week on the first few months of data, which they say is keeping people who are a risk of re-offending in custody while allowing lower-risk offenders to be released without bail.

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Judgment day for LA’s lightning rod politicians

Politico By Melanie Mason, Jeremy B. White, Dustin Gardiner And Lara Korte 03/01/2024

The Buzz — La La Land: (See what is making national news

  • KDL’s Redemption Tour
  • Law And Order
  • Ideological Tests

Read

Defenders of Justice Urges Votes for Non-Prosecutors for Los Angeles Judge Seats

By The Vanguard Staff, February 29, 2024

LOS ANGELES, CA – A group here continues to try to convince voters to elect non-prosecutors to the bench as March Primary Election winds down, noting 78 percent of judges now are former prosecutors.

A 2024 cohort of Defenders of Justice – public defenders claiming they are “seeking to create transformation within the LA Superior Court by ending the prosecutor-to-judge-pipeline” – said Angelenos will have their “final say regarding who they want to sit on the judicial bench for the next six years or more.”

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A Wave Of Departures Shakes Up LA’s Homeless Agency

The LAist, By Nick Gerda, Feb 28, 2024

Three top L.A. homelessness officials have left their jobs in recent weeks, LAist has learned. The exits at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) include the executives who oversaw finance and data. Public announcements were not made about most of the changes.

The departures are prompting questions about why people are leaving and whether there’s now a leadership vacuum that affects oversight of homeless services, according to interviews with city and county officials.

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LA County watchdog urges disbanding of sheriff's 'aggressive' Risk Management Bureau

Los Angeles Times, by Keri Blakinger, Feb 28, 2024

Oversight officials this month urged the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to disband a specialized bureau they say is silencing whistleblowers, protecting favored employees and downplaying misconduct in the upper ranks.

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Gavin Newsom could save $1 billion by closing 5 California prisons, legislative analyst says

Sacramento Bee, By Maya Miller February 27, 2024

California could save nearly $1 billion annually if it closed five more state prisons, according to a new report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The nonpartisan analysts are once again urging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration to cull the state’s prison infrastructure as the number of inmates continues to decline. The savings could help Newsom shore up a projected $38 billion deficit

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LARRP's FORMER INTEGRATED HEALTH COMMITTEE CHAIR, DR. ETSEMAYE AGONAFER APPOINTED!!!

Bass appoints LA's 1st deputy mayor of homelessness and community health

City News Service, February 14, 2024

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced the appointment of Dr. Etsemaye Agonafer as the city's first deputy mayor of homelessness and community health.

Watch

Proposition 47's Impact on California's Criminal Justice System

KQED by Marisa Lagos, Feb 14

For the last decade, most Democrats have staunchly defended one of the state’s biggest criminal justice reform measures: Proposition 47.

But in recent months, more and more state leaders are pushing some sort of overhaul of the 2014 ballot measure.

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The Power of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors: A Voter's Guide
Westside Current, Feb 13, 2024
Tasked with the oversight of a $46.7 billion budget and the welfare of over 10 million residents, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors plays a pivotal role in regional administration. The Board's substantial sway over policy decisions touches every aspect of community life, from public safety and health to housing and beyond.
This election cycle is not merely about selecting officeholders; it's a decision on the future trajectory of Los Angeles County.
L.A. County legal spending skyrocketed to $1 billion last year, as Sheriff’s Department settlements balloon

LA Times, By Rebecca Ellis, Keri Blakinger, Feb. 7, 2024

The costs to defend Los Angeles County — and its army of sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, social workers and doctors — against lawsuits skyrocketed in the last fiscal year, according to twin reports released this week.

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An ex-NFL player died in custody. His grieving family demands to know what happened

LA Times, By Steve Henson, Feb. 6, 2024

Painstakingly, snippet by snippet, the parents of former NFL and Stanford football player Stanley Tobias Wilson Jr. collect information about the last day of their son’s life.

It’s agonizing work. Wilson had been locked up for more than five months at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles....

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California State Senate

By CalMatters, Feb 6, 2024

Here's a look at some of the key L.A. and Orange County State Senates races on the March 5 ballot.

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Justice Department proposes major changes to address disparities in state crime victim funds

AP News, By Claudia Lauer And Mike Catalini, February 5, 2024

The Justice Department proposed changes Monday to rules governing state-run programs that provide financial assistance to violent crime victims in order to address racial disparities and curb the number of subjective denials of compensation.

The proposal from the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime, a major overhaul to how states across the U.S. currently handle victims compensation claims, comes less than a year after an Associated Press investigation exposed that Black victims were disproportionately denied in many states

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Opinion: California has a $38-billion deficit. So why are we still paying for prisons we don’t need?

LA Times, By Brian Kaneda, Feb. 5, 2024

Facing a state budget deficit of at least $38 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom should be rethinking his expensive commitment to the state’s traditional system of mass incarceration. While insisting he will create a kinder, gentler brand of California prison, the governor has authorized $1 billion in raises for corrections officers and hundreds of millions more for prison buildings despite a steady decline of the incarcerated population and skyrocketing costs.

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A New 5-Year Plan For Closing Men’s Central Jail

WitnessLA, February 5, 2024, by Taylor Walker

On January 30, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors received a new five-year plan for closing the dangerously decrepit Men’s Central Jail without a replacement facility. This new plan isn’t the county’s first roadmap for shuttering the jail, nor is it the most expedient.

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Democrats and Republicans find middle ground on California’s Prop. 1 to fund mental health care

LA Times, By Taryn Luna, Jan. 31, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom has an unusual ally in his Proposition 1 ballot measure to boost funding for mental health: an outspoken Donald Trump supporter and Kern County lawmaker who co-chaired the committee that led the failed 2021 recall effort against the governor.

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Mayor Bass' Progress On Homelessness, In 6 Charts

By Brianna Lee and Nick Gerda, Updated Jan 25, 2024

Here's how Mayor Bass did on her campaign promises on homelessness during her first year in office.

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Non-Police Crisis Response Programs Have Been Working. Here’s How.


The Appeal, Meg O'Connor, Jan 24, 2024

After decades of protests over police violence, many cities have created non-police crisis response teams. These unarmed first responders typically answer 911 calls for people having mental health crises. Here’s how they work.

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Forty-eight people have died in LA County jails since the start of 2023.

Davis Vanguard, January 20, 2024, By Sam McCann

In the first two weeks of the new year, three more people have died in Los Angeles County jails. Their deaths continue a deadly trend; 48 people have died in the system’s custody since the start of 2023.

That staggering number far exceeds that of New York City Department of Correction (NYC DOC) facilities, where the rising number of deaths at the Rikers Island jail complex has led to a mounting crisis that has received nationwide attention.

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LASD Whistleblower Takes Her Case To Trial, While Villanueva Testifies That Deputy Gangs Don’t Exist, & Sheriff Luna Says There’s A New Deputy Gang

Witness LA January 17, 2024 by Celeste Fremon

Wednesday, civil rights attorney, Alan Romero presented closing arguments in the whistleblower lawsuit brought by LASD Captain Angela Walton, against the County of Los Angeles, and former LA County sheriff Alex Villanueva.

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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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8 LA Probation Staff Removed From Duty For Overseeing “Fight Clubs,” As Probation Chief Outsources Internal Affairs Investigations

Witness LA, January 11, 2024 by Celeste Fremon

On Wednesday, January 10, Viera Rosa placed the eight peace officers on “ordered absence,” until further notice.

“Sharing this information publicly is an important step forward in my commitment to bring new leadership, transparency, and accountability to the Probation Department,” said Chief Viera Rosa.

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Safety and Justice Leader: Despite ‘Vested Interest,’ Naysayers Claims False – Prop 47, Other Criminal Justice Reforms Working, Saving Tax Dollars, Lives

Davis vanguard, by staff, January 09, 2024

SAN JOSE, CA – There’s been an “ongoing effort by those with a vested interest in protecting the old, failed approaches of our criminal justice system to spread disinformation about the impact reforms to that broken system have had,” but it’s false, said Tinisch Hollins, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, which co-authored Proposition 47 in 2014.

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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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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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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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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

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.

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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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