In the NEWS 2022
LARRP posts relevant news and articles in this section.
Please send us anything you think we might have missed so we can post it!
Everyone has an idea for solving homelessness. What if we listened to the unhoused?
LA Times, By Theo Henderson, Ananya Roy, May 9, 2022 8:44 AM PT
“It’s a war on the poor,” Theo Henderson often likes to note. And indeed, it is, in the liberal city of Los Angeles, where homelessness is the leading public issue of concern. While politicians expand the criminalization of homelessness and promise to “end encampments,” thousands of Angelenos are consigned to living and dying on the streets, and thousands more are on the edge of eviction. Rarely, though, do unhoused voices and experiences shape the city’s public discourse and policies about homelessness.
Funding dries up for program aimed at LA’s ‘sickest of the sick
KCRW, Hosted by Steve Chiotakis, May 09, 2022
There is a pathway for people suffering from mental health issues to get out of the jail population and into supportive housing. It’s through a 2015 program called ODR Housing from the Office of Diversion and Reentry.
Nearly 4,000 people have been diverted from jail and into the program, which offers housing, nurses, psychiatrists, and case managers.
ODR currently has 2,200 beds, which are occupied, but LA County has not provided funding for the program to expand. So ODR Housing has not been able to accept a new client in over a year.
El Camino College formerly incarcerated student program gets $160,000 grant
Daily Breeze, by Kristy Hutchings, May 9, 2022
El Camino is one of 59 colleges in the state to secure a Rising Scholars Network grant designed to support students who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.
Gascón supporters, foes exchange barbs
The Signal of Santa Clarita Valley, May 3, 2022, by Caleb Lunetta
From LARRP Partner Susan Burton: “I have worked with George Gascón to create better victim services to create better policies to not criminalize addiction and mental health and to just transform our criminal justice system,” said Burton. “I believe, along with all of you, that there’s a lot of work ahead of us. And I believe in George Gascón heading that work.”
From LARRP Co-founder and Steering Committee Member Lynne Lyman: “I’ve seen all these scare tactics before when the Drug Policy Alliance won treatment instead of incarceration at the ballot in 2001 or when we legalized cannabis in 2016,” said Lynne Lyman, a justice advocate working in L.A. County. “We heard the same: The sky is falling, the fear-mongering about drug addict criminals getting into our communities.”
The American women and children we all conveniently forget
KCRW, Hosted by Robert Scheer Apr. 29, 2022
Interview with Jorja Leap
On this week’s “Scheer Intelligence,” Leap joins fellow Angeleno Robert Scheer to discuss California’s female prison population and the scholar’s must-read new book, “Entry Lessons: The Stories of Women Fighting for Their Place, Their Children, and Their Futures After Incarceration,”. Focusing not just on what happens in jails and prisons but what occurs upon reentry, Leap reports with a keenly humanitarian perspective on how these women’s trials and tribulations can often be as difficult if not more so once they’re free.
California inmate overdoses plummet under drug program
By Don Thompson Associated Press, April 26, 2022
The nation's largest medication-assisted treatment program for addicted prison inmates has reduced a surge in drug overdose deaths and hospitalizations plaguing California’s prison system
Biden grants his first pardons to a former Secret Service agent, two others
Associated Press, By Aamer Madhani, April 26, 2022
The president also commuted the sentences of 75 others for nonviolent, drug-related convictions. The White House announced the clemencies Tuesday as it launched a series of job training and reentry programs for those in prison or recently released.
The Homelessness Crisis: A Monster of Our Own Making
The Medium, April 25, 2022, By Heidi Marston
Heidi Marston resigned today and submitted this powerful piece about this situation. Some of the quotes:
- But in 2020, 205 people in Los Angeles County found housing that resolved their homelessness every day — while at the same time, 225 people fell into homelessness on the same day.
- Amongst our lowest-compensated employees, 91% are people of color. Many have lived experience of homelessness, and some have been recipients of services that LAHSA and our non-profit partners administer. The employees of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority should not make so little that they qualify for homeless services themselves.
The Superpredator Myth Did a Lot of Damage. Courts Are Beginning to See the Light.
NYTimes Guest Essay, By James Forman Jr. and Kayla Vinson, April 20, 2022
...Revisiting lengthy sentences, especially for people who committed acts of violence, has always been considered one of the third rails of criminal justice reform. But two recent developments in Connecticut — one from the State Supreme Court, the other from the Board of Pardons and Paroles — offer important examples of state officials overcoming this reluctance.
Exclusive: HUD unveils plan to help people with a criminal record find a place to live
USA TODAY by Romina Ruiz-Goiriena, April 12, 2022
- HUD is making it easier for Americans with a criminal record to find housing.
- In six months, HUD will produce new guidelines and model documents, such as leases.
- The move would impact all federally funded housing programs, including public housing authorities and rental assistance voucher programs.
How Sacramento’s mass shooting killed the myth of ‘tough-on-crime’ prosecutors
The Philadelphia Enquirer, by Will Bunch, Apr 7, 2022
A mass killing on the turf of an outspoken "tough-on-crime" DA shatters the myth that progressive prosecutors are the cause of rising homicides.
Coalition Pushes California To Provide Funding For Crime Prevention, Prisoner Re-Entry Programs
CBS13 SACRAMENTO, By Rachel Wulff, April 6, 2022
Tinisch Hollins lost a family member to gun violence. It’s one of the reasons why she is working with Californians For Safety and Justice. “We want to set state’s priorities,” Hollins said.
Her organization was one of a dozen that sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature asking for $3 billion in funding. The money would also be used to help try to prevent recidivism. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg says the failure to re-enter people effectively after jail is a public safety issue.
CA Police Data Shows ‘Tough-on-Crime’ Counties Experience Higher Crime
The Crime Report,By Andrea Cipriano, April 4, 2022
California has been in the spotlight in recent weeks for its battle handling crime spikes, and most recently their Sacramento battle recovering from a devastating mass shooting.
With that, a debate regarding policing strategy rages on — and new police data shows California counties with tough-on-crime policies actually have a greater crime increase compared to counties with progressive policies, Davis Vanguard reports.
Is it fair to blame Gascón alone for L.A.’s violent crime surge? Here’s what the data show
LA Times, By James Queally, April 1, 2022
...an analysis of the L.A. County district attorney’s office filing rates, homicide solve rates and crime statistics paints a far more complicated picture of the surge in violence than the one some of Gascón’s enemies have sketched.
After years of talk, little progress on closing L.A. County’s aging jail
LA Times, By Alene Tchekmedyian, March 30, 2022
..Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the county is not ready to close the jail, but she has been pushing to use state grants set aside to build jails to instead fund diversion programs. “We don’t want to build jails, but we want to use it to serve the same population,” she said. She added: “The point is how quickly can we and the community get ready to build out the services we need on the care end of our ‘Care First, Jails Last’ initiative.”
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?...
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.”
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.
Column: L.A. County’s sheriff has a strange obsession with how much media coverage Black people get
Column: L.A. County’s sheriff leans on his Latino identity. Does he exemplify our worst traits?
Newsletter: Essential California: Gustavo talks with Sheriff Villanueva; desmadre happens
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.