In the NEWS 2023
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State orders L.A. County to move nearly 300 youths out of ‘unsuitable’ juvenile halls."
By Rebecca Ellis, James Queally, May 23, 2023
State regulators on Tuesday gave Los Angeles County two months to move roughly 300 youths out of its two troubled juvenile halls, taking the unprecedented step after finding the county had done little in the last month to come into compliance with a long list of state regulations.
LA County Should Loosen Strict Reentry Program Criteria
LAW 360, By Sophia Lowe, Eleanor Pearson and Samuel Mistrano, May 19, 2023
On Feb. 28, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to draft a Fair Chance Ordinance that would prevent most businesses in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County from excluding job applicants with histories of criminal records during the hiring process, and that would fine employers that violate it.
Dozens of LASD deputies ordered to show suspected gang tattoos, reveal others who have them
LA Times, By Keri Blakinger, May 17, 2023
Nearly three dozen deputies have been ordered to come in for questioning, show their tattoos and give up the names of any other deputies similarly sporting ink connecting them to two of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s most notorious deputy gangs.
Claude Garrett Was Wrongfully Imprisoned For Decades. He Died After Five Months Of Freedom.
The Intercept, Liliana Segura, May 14 2023
In many ways, Claude was lucky. He had a job, a place to live, the support of loved ones. But incarceration exacts a heavy toll.
LA County picks former state adult parole director as interim chief of probation
Pasadena Star News, By Jason Henry, May 11, 2023
Guillermo Viera Rosa receives promotion just weeks into new job. Guillermo Viera Rosa, a strategist hired by Los Angeles County less than a month ago to reform its struggling juvenile halls, will now, at least temporarily, lead the largest probation department in the country as the new interim chief probation officer, county officials announced Thursday, May 11.
Inmates leaving California prisons may be armed with Narcan to reduce overdose risk
LA Times, By Don Thompson, May 10, 2023
Individuals newly released from prison are 40 times as likely to die of opioid overdoses than members of the general population, researchers say.
Editorial: Unconscionable abuse and shameful inaction at L.A. County jails
LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, May 7, 2023
Last fall, the plaintiffs’ attorneys at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California obtained an order banning custody practices that would spark international outrage if they were perpetrated by enemies in wartime: chaining or handcuffing mentally ill people to chairs for days without access to drinking water, toilets, showers, adequate ventilation or medication, and leaving them to sleep on concrete floors at the Inmate Reception Center with no mattresses or blankets, amid one another’s excrement.
18-year-old dies of overdose in L.A. County juvenile hall, as state suggests shutdown
BY James Queally, Staff Writer, May 9, 2023
A state oversight agency issued a report Tuesday calling for Los Angeles County’s juvenile halls to be shuttered in the wake of a staffing crisis and reports of increased violence and drug use, just hours after an 18-year-old was found dead of an apparent overdose in one of the deteriorating facilities.
Is California giving reparations for slavery? Here’s what you need to know
LA Times, By Taryn Luna, Staff Writer, May 6, 2023
California’s Reparations Task Force voted on Saturday to recommend that the state issue a formal apology for slavery and potentially provide billions of dollars in cash payments, moving forward a historic effort to enact remedies and compensation for descendants of African Americans who were enslaved in the U.S.
The vote at a public meeting in Oakland marks the beginning of the end of the nine-member panel’s two-year process to craft a report recommending reparations for slavery, which is due to the state Legislature by July 1.
Interim chief resigns from embattled LA County Probation Department
Los Angeles Daily News, by Jason Henry and Steve Scauzillo, Pasadena Star News, May 2, 2023
Karen Fletcher, Los Angeles County’s interim chief probation officer, is stepping down after less than two months leading the county’s troubled Probation Department.
The Board of Supervisors promoted Fletcher to the department’s top spot in March after firing her predecessor, Chief Adolfo Gonzales. Her resignation letter to the board on Monday, May 1, states her last day will be May 19
Editorial: Sexual assaults, probation’s meltdown and L.A. County governance are connected
LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, May 2, 2023 5 AM PT
Under a proposal that goes before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, reserve sheriff‘s deputies would help staff the county’s two chaotic juvenile halls, a third hall would reopen, and the county chief executive officer would have emergency powers to take additional actions to save the foundering Probation Department.
NewsOne By Asha Bandele, May 2, 2023
Award-winning author and journalist asha bandele recalls Harry Belafonte not just as a legendary artist and activist but also as a master strategist.
It really doesn’t matter that we knew for some time that his death was imminent. He’d been frail for years, and for years, each time I asked Susan Taylor, who’d formally introduced us more than two decades ago, if perhaps there was an event Mr. B. could attend with us, she’d tell me he wasn’t well enough. But in the way I could never see my own father’s strength leaving him, not even when he was in hospice, neither could I prepare myself to hear that Harry Belafonte—artist and organizer, father, husband, son and friend—had drawn his final breath.
Home/Free documentary film spotlighting re-entry barriers for formerly incarcerated people now available to stream on Prime Video
May 1st, 2023
Slack, Next Chapter, John Legend’s freeamerica, and the Equal Justice Initiative join forces to make powerful new documentary
The Untold Story Of How A Stubborn Group Of Parents Helped Shutter The Nation’s Largest Youth Prison System
The Appeal, Nell Bernstein, The Imprint Apr 26, 2023
How a scrappy group of parents played a key but lesser-known role in the pending closure of the Division of Juvenile Justice
A California lawyer cashed in on criminal justice reform by fanning the hopes of inmates’ families
LA Times, By Harriet Ryan, April 21, 2023
When California enacted landmark criminal justice reforms several years ago, inmates and their families saw a chance at freedom. Aaron Spolin saw a business opportunity.
California Politics: The prison reform that divides California Democrats
By Laurel Rosenhall Sacramento Bureau Chief, April 20, 2023
SACRAMENTO — Will this be the year California limits solitary confinement in state prisons and jails?
Even though the state’s voters and the Legislature’s Democratic majority have embraced a number of progressive criminal justice reforms over the last decade that have reduced the prison population, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last year vetoed legislation to limit the use of solitary confinement.
LA County Reorganizes The Youth Side Of Probation. So Will It Help?
Witness LA, April 19, 2023 by Celeste Fremon
On Wednesday, April 19, Los Angeles County CEO, Fesia Davenport officially notified all those who work for the nation’s largest probation department that Guillermo Viera Rosa is now on the job as the department’s “Chief Strategist for Juvenile Operations.”
Kim Kardashian leads young influencers on Los Angeles prison trip to raise criminal justice reform awareness
Fox News, By Michael Ruiz , April 17, 2023
Kim and Khloé Kardashian walked into a California prison Monday morning with a different goal in mind – guiding a group of young influencers through the American criminal justice system.
"It’s always an honor to be able to visit the men and women living behind our prison walls," Kim, a longtime criminal justice reform advocate, said Monday. The "Kardashians" star had spent several hours at the California State Prison of Los Angeles County in Lancaster with Michael Rubin and members of the REFORM Alliance – a group that aims to help ex-cons successfully return to society through probation and parole reform – and a number of young social media stars.
California attorney general asks judge to sanction LA County if it doesn’t fix juvenile halls
Orang County Register, By Jason Henry, Pasadena Star News, April 12, 2023
'It is imperative that our institutions give (incarcerated juveniles) every opportunity for rehabilitation, growth, and healing,' said Attorney General Rob Bonta
Conditions At LA County’s Jail Intake Center Continue To Violate Judge’s Preliminary Injunction, ACLU Says
Witness LA, April 7, 2023 by Taylor Walker
Last year, conditions at Los Angeles County’s jail intake center reached lows so disturbing that the ACLU filed an emergency motion on September 8, 2022, asking U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson, who oversees the county’s 2015 federal consent decree, to issue a temporary restraining order against the county.
California parole chief tapped by Gavin Newsom resigns to lead LA’s troubled juvenile halls
The Sacramento Bee, By Maggie Angst, April 05, 2023
The head of California’s adult parole division is leaving to oversee Los Angeles’s long-troubled juvenile halls and manage the nation’s largest juvenile justice system. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night to hire Guillermo Viera Rosa as the county’s new chief strategist for juvenile operations.
Los Angeles County’s probation department challenges are extraordinary. It’s time for receivership.
Los Angeles Daily News, By Karen Pank, March 31, 2023
Los Angeles County is at a pivotal moment. We need an extraordinary solution and a reset that removes the politics and can delve into identifying the problems and address them holistically.
San Quentin Could Be the Future of Prisons in America
NYTimes, Guest Opinion, March 30, 2023, by By Bill Keller, founding editor in chief of The Marshall Project
There are many ways to measure the disaster that is America’s prison system... But the metric that has haunted me in the decade since I helped start the nonprofit The Marshall Project and began paying attention to the role of prisons in America is this: Each year more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Far too many of them emerge from custody brutalized, alienated, estranged from their families, stigmatized and lacking in basic education or employable skills. Unsurprisingly, about three-quarters of those released from state prisons nationwide are arrested again within five years. California has one of the worst records for repeat offenses.
FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan. Here’s what it means
AP News, By Geoff Mulvihill, March 29, 2023
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling the leading version of naloxone without a prescription, setting the overdose-reversing drug on course to become the first opioid treatment drug to be sold over the counter.
Three inmates died in Los Angeles County jails in just over a week
LA Times By Keri Blakinger March 28, 2023
Three Los Angeles County inmates died in an nine-day period this month, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a grim milestone that comes even as the county is facing scrutiny in court for using a cash bail system that can keep poor people behind bars.
‘First Step Act’ – GAO Reports on Federal Efforts to Help Reduce Recidivism and Re-Entry to Federal Prisons
The Davis Vanguard, By Belen Avelar and Vaiva Utaraite, March 24, 2023
According to BOP data, as of Jan. 29, 2022, “39,394 incarcerated people who were eligible to earn First Step Act time credits were not able to have their First Step Act time credits applied because of their medium or high-risk level status.”
CA’s Chief Probation Officers Call For Immediate Limited Court Receivership For LA County’s Youth Facilities
New Partnerships Help Incarcerated People Find Jobs
Vera Institute, Nazish Dholakia Senior Writer, Mar 21, 2023
Corrections departments, educators, and employers are increasingly working together to create job opportunities for people leaving prison.
California to overhaul San Quentin prison, emphasizing rehab
Associated Press/Report for America, By Janie HAR and Sophie Austin March 16, 2023
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The infamous state prison on San Francisco Bay that has been home to the largest death row population in the United States will be transformed into a lockup where less-dangerous prisoners will receive education, training and rehabilitation, California officials announced Thursday.
The inmates serving death sentences at San Quentin State Prison will be moved elsewhere in the California penitentiary system, Gov. Gavin Newsom's office announced, and it will be renamed the San Quentin Rehabilitation Center.
L.A. County probation chief fired by Board of Supervisors
LA Times, By James Queally, Rebecca Ellis, March 7, 2023
Los Angeles County leaders unanimously voted to fire Probation Department Chief Adolfo Gonzales on Tuesday, pledging it would be the first step in an overhaul of one of the county’s most troubled departments.
The vote brings an abrupt end to Gonzales’ tumultuous two-year term, in which the department careened from one crisis to the next.
Gascón loses retaliation case, a grim omen for the L.A. County D.A.
LA Times, By James Queally Staff Writer, March 6, 2023
An L.A. County prosecutor on Monday was awarded $1.5 million in a retaliation lawsuit against Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who faces more than a dozen similar civil claims that could prove equally costly.
It’s hard to find a job if you’ve been in jail. A new program is trying to fix that
LA Times, By Jon Healey, Utility Journalism Senior Editor, March 2, 2023
...That’s why Los Angeles County launched its second Fair Chance Hiring Program this year to promote the hiring of “system impacted” individuals — that is, Californians with criminal records and their close relatives. The program builds on the Fair Chance Act, a 2017 state law that bars most employers with five or more workers from rejecting applicants just because they have a criminal record.
LA Is Locking Up More Mentally Ill People, Despite Diversion Efforts
The Appeal, By Meg O'Connor, March 02, 2023
In 2015, Los Angeles County created a program to reduce the number of mentally ill people trapped in jail. But since then, the number of people with mental illness incarcerated in LA has instead increased significantly.
Editorial: Ousting L.A. County’s chief probation officer isn’t enough. Only radical intervention can save juvenile justice
LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, Feb. 28, 2023
Adolfo Gonzales, Los Angeles County’s chief probation officer, is not the real problem in a disastrous probation system that has failed teenagers caught in it.
That’s not to say that Gonzales is up to the job. He’s not. On his watch, juvenile halls and probation camps have sunk more deeply into crisis, further endangering a troubled population of teenagers in county custody and too often squandering the opportunity to get their lives on a better course.
Mass Incarceration Is Slavery. Abolition Is A Vision For The Future.
The Appeal, by Olayemi Olurin, Feb 22, 2023
Yes, when abolitionists say abolition, we do really mean abolish prisons, policing, and America’s entire criminal system as it exists. Yes, going as far as abolishing it is necessary. No, it’s not radical. And yes, we know it’s a process.
A Law Was Meant To Free Sick Or Aging Inmates. Instead, Some Are Left To Die In Prison.
WitnessLA Guest, February 21, 2023, By Fred Clasen-Kelly, Kaiser Health News
Doctors told Stout, now 62, the sharp pain and congestion in his chest were caused by stage 4 lung cancer, a terminal condition. “I’m holding on, but I would like to die at home,” he told the courts in a request last September for compassionate release after serving about half of his nearly 15-year sentence
Mandatory evictions for arrested tenants would be banned under new state bill
LA Times, By Liam Dillon , Feb. 18, 2023
Assembly Bill 1418 takes aim at local policies known as “crime-free housing,” which can force landlords to evict tenants accused of breaking the law or refuse to rent to those with prior criminal convictions.
Leaving prison for many means homelessness and overdose. California hopes to change that
LA Times By Lila Seidman, Feb. 13, 2023
Californians who leave prisons and jails soon will have a better chance of success beyond bars. In January, California became the first state permitted to provide some benefits under Medicaid (known here as Medi-Cal) to incarcerated individuals. The new benefits would start 90 days before discharge in an effort to create a smooth transition to the community.
State Oversight Board Says LA Probation’s Youth Halls Are Dangerously Out Of Compliance In 39 Categories
February 15, 2023 by Celeste Fremon
Last Thursday, February 9, the members of the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) were presented with a report showing that Los Angeles County Probation’s two youth lock-ups — Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall and Central Juvenile Hall — were once again extravagantly out of compliance when it comes to basic standards of care for the kids in residence at the two facilities.
New Federal Law Clarifies FCC’s Power To Cap Phone And Video Call Rates In Jails And Prisons
WitnessLA, February 10, 2023 by Taylor Walker
As of January, a new federal law, the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act, gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the power to regulate the price of video calls in prisons and jails across the nation.
L.A. on the Record: A new leader for LAHSA
LA Times, By Benjamin Oreskes, Dakota Smith, Jan. 28, 2023
Va Lecia Adams Kellum, president and chief executive of St. Joseph Center, will head the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Civil rights groups file lawsuit to block Newsom’s plan for treating people with mental illness
LA Times, By Hannah Wileys, Jan. 26, 2023
SACRAMENTO — A coalition of disability and civil rights advocates filed a lawsuit Thursday asking the California Supreme Court to block the rollout of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s far-reaching new plan to address severe mental illness by compelling treatment for thousands of people.
California Set To Become First State In Nation To Expand Medicaid Services For Justice-Involved Individuals
SACRAMENTO, January 26, 2023 – California today became the first state in the nation to offer a targeted set of Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) services to youth and adults in state prisons, county jails, and youth correctional facilities for up to 90 days prior to release. Currently, Medi-Cal services are generally available only after release from incarceration. Through a federal Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will establish a coordinated community reentry process that will assist people leaving incarceration to connect to the physical and behavioral health services they need upon release.
Editorial: What were L.A. probation officials thinking? Public agencies should not profit from firearm sales
By The Times Editorial Board, Jan. 24, 2023
It boggles the mind. As some Los Angeles County leaders were rushing to the scene in Monterey Park where 11 people were fatally shot with a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol Saturday, other county officials were preparing to put hundreds more handguns — all of them 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols — on the street.
Listen To What LAPD Chief Moore Says About His Decision To Ban The Thin Blue Line Police Flag From Department Use
Air Talk with Larry Mantle, Jan 18, 2023
What happened to the Thin Blue Line Flag? "In the more recent past, it has been weaponized by the far right extremists and has come to in some people's view represent extremist views, including white supremacy and anti-government rhetoric," Moore said on AirTalk With Larry Mantle
As fentanyl overdose deaths keep rising, efforts to reverse trend meet liability fears
LA Times By Connor Sheets, Staff Writer Dec. 27, 2022
As fentanyl overdose deaths rise unabated, California is at the forefront of the fight to reverse the grim trend. But organizations that distribute overdose reversal drugs worry that their increasingly bold efforts to save lives could land them in legal trouble.
Newsom Grants 10 Pardons, Including For Drug Crimes
Associated Press, Dec 27, 2022
Newsom has granted 140 pardons, 123 commutations and 35 reprieves since taking office in 2019.
SACRAMENTO, CA — California Gov. Gavin Newsom granted 10 pardons Friday, including for several people convicted of drug crimes more than 20 years ago and someone facing the possibility of deportation.
For the First Time Since 2020, People In LA County Jails Can Get Married Again
For Decades, Los Angeles Jailed People with Mental Health Needs. Now, It’s Finally Prioritizing Treatment
Vera by Sam McCann Senior Writer, Dec 22, 2022
The Los Angeles jail system is the largest mental health institution in the United States, and it’s locking up more people with mental illness than ever before. But this fall, a coalition local organizers, service providers, impacted families, and advocates like Vera secured two major victories that will divert hundreds of people with mental health needs away from Los Angeles County’s inhumane and dangerous Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) and into supportive housing. The wins are part of an ongoing effort to transform how Los Angeles approaches mental health.
How California’s colleges are supporting formerly incarcerated students
Visalia Times Delta by Arabel Meyer, Titus Wilkinson, Ramon Castaños, Abbie Phillips, Erik AdamsEdSource, Dec. 22, 2022
California public universities are becoming more equitable and inclusive as programs emerge to help formerly incarcerated students earn college degrees.
These programs include the California State University system’s Project Rebound and the University of California’s Underground Scholars, both of which have shown promising results in the successful reintegration of people into the education system.
What It Means To Spend The Holidays Behind Bars
The Appeal, by Chris Blackwell, Antoine E. Davis, Jonathan Kirkpatrick, Aaron Edward Olson & Raymond Williams, Dec 22, 2022
Incarcerated writers reflect on the pain, joy, and other complicated emotions associated with getting in the so-called "holiday spirit" in prison.
‘Dickensian’ Conditions At LA County Jail Amid Shortage Of Psychiatric Staff
The LAist, By Robert Garrova, Dec 22, 2022
4 In 10 Of mental health positions are vacant, Filthy jail cells. In an LAist investigation from earlier this year, current and former medical staff members described a jail working environment that is dysfunctional, abusive and detrimental to providing health care.
George Soros Funding Criminal Justice Reform Plants In Legacy Media
By Corinne Murdock, Dec 21, 2022
Democratic megadonor George Soros will pay journalists anywhere from $63,000 to $85,000 to advance progressive criminal justice reform...
Journalists aren’t the only ones eligible for these fellowships. OSF offers three distinct categories of fellowship funding — advocacy, media, and youth activism — which may pay up to six figures, according to scholarship data provided to universities. These categories qualify a wide variety of professions such as lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, artists, and filmmakers.
Criminal justice panel says California should pay restitution to victims, ban some traffic stops
LA Times by Hannah Wiley, December 20, 2022
California should set up a taxpayer-funded restitution system for crime victims, curtail the use of money bail and limit when cops can make traffic stops that disproportionately affect Black and Latino drivers, according to recommendations from a criminal justice panel that advises state lawmakers.
New Study Looks At Relationship Between Reformist DAs & Crime Rates…& Finds That Facts Matter
WitnessLA, December 16, 2022 by Celeste Fremon
... The authors wrote that they found no evidence of an association between progressive prosecution and homicide in Los Angeles County.
“In 2020, the year before George Gascón was elected District Attorney, homicides increased by 38 percent in the city of Los Angeles proper and by 37 percent in cities policed by the Sheriff.”
The following year they noted that “homicides rose only 12 percent” in the city of Los Angeles, whereas, in municipalities policed by the [LA County] Sheriff, the rate of growth (41 percent) exceeded that in the first year of the pandemic.”
Bottom line: “The disparate patterns in homicide across the cities that make up Los Angeles County suggest that the policies of the prosecutor do not have a direct relationship to levels of lethal violence,” wrote the authors.
Justice Dept. Considers Early Release for Female Inmates Sexually Abused Behind Bars
NYTimes by By Glenn Thrush, Dec. 13, 2022
The push comes amid new revelations about the extent of abuse of women, and the unwillingness of many prison officials to address a crisis that has long been an open secret in government.
Lawsuit Challenges “Unconstitutional” LA County Bail Practices
Witness LA, November 30, 2022 by Taylor Walker
At least ten people who could not afford to post bail died in Los Angeles jails without having been charged with a crime, according to a class-action lawsuit challenging the incarceration of people simply because they cannot afford to post bail amounts set by the LA County’s bail schedule.
Editorial: California still violates the Constitution on bail
LA Times, By The Times Editorial Board, Nov. 29, 2022
The purpose of bail is to get people out of jail.
There continues to be broad misunderstanding of that basic principle among Californians generally, and blatant violation of it — knowing or otherwise — among police and judges. The right to bail under the state and federal constitutions routinely is stood on its head, so that instead of being used to get people out of jail, bail is misused to keep people in.
Gov. Newsom vetoes bill to end indefinite solitary confinement in California, citing safety concerns
L.A. County sheriff’s unit accused of targeting political enemies, vocal critics
LA Supervisors Vote to Explore Creating Locked, 'Non-Correctional' Mental Health Facilities
The LAist, By Emily Elena Dugdale, Sep 27, 2022
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion Tuesday that proposed establishing locked “non-correctional” mental health treatment facilities for incarcerated people with mental health needs currently languishing in the county jails.
‘Third World tactics’? What’s behind L.A. County sheriff’s search of Sheila Kuehl’s home?
Impact Justice And Its Project Pairing Homeowners With Formerly Incarcerated Tenants Gets A $15 Million Boost
'A friend in the White House': Jill Biden tours Homeboy Industries, L.A.'s renowned post-prison service provider
Yahoo News, Grace Toohey September 16, 2022
Column: If California really wants to reduce crime, not just talk about it, it’ll cost $42 million
New LASD Whistleblower Tells Of The Sheriff’s Budget Manipulations, Rigged Promotions, & An Alarming Array Of Other Forms Of Corruption
WitnessLA, by Celeste Fremon, August 30, 2022
Column: Violent crime is spiking in Trump’s California. These counties blame everyone but themselves
LA Times By Anita Chabria, Aug. 26, 2022
Some fault criminal justice reform for increasing rates of violent crime. But homicides in California increased the most in places with hard-line policies.
Deeper in the data, released Thursday by state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, is a more complicated story, one that defies those easy narratives of a failed California with its recklessly unsafe efforts at criminal justice reform. The biggest risks for homicides came in conservative counties with iron-fist sheriffs and district attorneys
More Than Half a Million People in Prison May Soon Be Able to Afford College
Vera Institute for Justice, Nicholas Turner President & Director, Aug 23, 2022
For the first time in nearly three decades, all academically eligible incarcerated people—regardless of sentence length or offense—will soon be able to apply for federal aid for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Sheriff Villanueva in tight race as challenger Robert Luna has edge in new poll
LA Times, By Alene Tchekmedyian, Aug. 21, 2022
Retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna has an early edge over incumbent Alex Villanueva in the runoff for Los Angeles County sheriff, with support for the candidates falling largely along political lines, according to a new poll by UC Berkeley co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times...
The poll also found significant support for a measure recently added to the November ballot that would give the county’s Board of Supervisors the power to force out a sitting sheriff. According to the poll, 52% of voters said they support the idea, while 22% said they would vote against it. The rest were undecided.
Newsom vetoes bill to set up drug overdose prevention programs in some California cities
LA Times By Hannah Wiley, Aug. 22, 2022
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed supervised injection site pilot programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, in efforts to prevent drug overdose deaths and connect people to treatment for addiction.
Regenerative farming cultivates living-wage jobs, new opportunities in the East Bay
FOX 2, By Tom Vacar, August 17, 2022
FREMONT, Calif. - A new East Bay public-private partnership aims to help ex-inmates re-enter the workplace, fight local hunger, and reduce global warming all in one fell swoop.
Police Lying to Children:
LA Progressive, Annie Sciacca, Aug 16, 2022
California Bill Seeks to Protect Questioned Youth
All four of the boys interrogated by police confessed. A judge sentenced them to decades in prison, where they stayed until exonerated by DNA evidence in 2011.
Editorial: Now that a second recall effort has failed, let George Gascón do the work he was elected to do
By The LA Times Editorial Board, Aug. 15, 2022
An excellent overview of the issues surrounding the recall efforts and criminal justice reform in the state.
Effort to force L.A. Dist. Atty. George Gascón into recall election fails
LA Times, By James Queally, Aug. 15, 2022
A second effort to force Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón into a recall election fizzled out Monday after officials determined that the campaign to boot him from office failed to gain enough valid signatures.
'We just keep punishing.’
Californians with criminal records still face housing barriers
Organizers Rally To Call For Restrictions On Solitary Confinement
LAist, By Robert Garrova, Jul 27, 2022
Organizers rallied outside the Glendale offices of State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) Wednesday to call for support of a bill that would put restrictions on the use of solitary confinement. The bill is slated to be heard in the California Senate Appropriations Committee next week, where Portantino is chair.
Editorial: The false promise of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s CARE courts
By The Times Editorial Board, July 26, 2022
New Police Accountability Laws Up Demands On State Agencies
Editorial: Don’t leave 211 callers hanging
By The LA Times Editorial Board, July 19, 2022
Los Angeles County supervisors are preparing to turn the operation and management of a key resource information service over to a firm that took on a similar job for the state Employment Development Department early in the pandemic, when business closures and layoffs were rampant — and did it poorly.
We agree! @211LA have been long time partners of LARRP, helping navigate people exiting incarceration to our reentry community services. We don't want big data handling our most vulnerable. This is a people to people business not a computer to people business!
Op-Ed: An L.A. program helps people get mental health care instead of jail time. Why not expand it?
LA Times, By James Bianco, July 18, 2022
As a mental health court judge, I work every day with people who are homeless and have serious mental illness. My cases involve people from all over Los Angeles County. The people you see living on the streets in your community are the people in my courtroom.
Arizona communities would 'collapse' without cheap prison labor, Corrections director says
Arizona Republic, By Jimmy Jenkins, July 14, 2022
“There are services that this department provides to city, county, local jurisdictions, that simply can't be quantified at a rate that most jurisdictions could ever afford. If you were to remove these folks from that equation, things would collapse in many of your counties, for your constituents,” Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn said.
Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn said Arizona communities would “collapse” without cheap prison labor, during testimony before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Thursday.
LA County Supervisors Pass Diluted Motion To Expand ODR With No Set Deadline
WitnessLA, by Taylor Walker, June 30, 2022
Criminal justice reform groups say LA County budget shortchanges jail alternatives
LA Daily News,By Steve Scauzillo, June 22, 2022
Groups including Black Lives Matter-LA and Re-Imagine LA, held a rally demanding the county fully implement Measure J reforms
Governor Newsom’s CARE Court Proposal Moves Forward
Published: Jun 21, 2022
SACRAMENTO – On the heels of California awarding over half a billion dollars for housing and services serving people experiencing mental health and substance use crises, Governor Gavin Newsom’s CARE Court proposal today cleared a major legislative hurdle.
Governor Newsom issued the following statement on CARE Court legislation passing through the Assembly Judiciary Committee with overwhelming support:
“Mental illness. Substance abuse. Homelessness. These are all existential crises we have to address with urgency.
Slavery Is Still Legal for Two Million People in the U.S.
Vera Institute for Justice, Nicholas Turner President & Directorand Erica Bryant Associate Director of Writing, Jun 15, 2022
Last year, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, but the United States has yet to acknowledge the direct line from chattel slavery in the fields to forced labor in U.S. prisons today. To finally end this injustice, states must ratify the Abolition Amendment and prohibit forced labor in all circumstances.
Navigating Freedom, Reentry and Motherhood: The Challenges for Formerly Incarcerated Moms
KQED, Hannah Maria Wright, Jun 11, 2022
How One of Philly's Best Pizza Spots Creates Jobs for the Formerly Incarcerated — First Person
Eater, YouTube, June 4, 2022
Column: No, the criminal justice reform movement isn’t dead. But it may need to grow up
LA Times, By Anita Chabria, June 9, 2022
...Voters’ rejection of Boudin does mean something and he may have even earned it, seemingly never having made the jump from winner to leader.
But races across the state were split when it came to criminal justice reform. There is no grand takeaway, other than the world has not recovered from a pandemic in its third year that has left us socially, economically and even physically off kilter — overwhelmed by drugs, mental illness and poverty, and unsure how to fix it all...
Yes, LA Voters Could Pick Their Next Mayor In The June Primary. Here's What Would Have To Happen
LAist, By Brianna Lee, May 17, 2022
If a single mayoral candidate gets 50%+1 of the primary vote, do they automatically become mayor after the primary?
The 1990s Law That Keeps People in Prison on Technicalities
The Marshall Project, By Keri Blakinger And Beth Schwartzapfel, 05.26.2022
How the Supreme Court expanded the most important law you’ve never heard of
Op-Ed: The mentally ill defendants in my courtroom need treatment, not jail
LA Times, By Terry Lee Smerling, May 20, 2022
...easily one-third of all criminal defendants who come through my courtroom and other courtrooms across the county — thousands of people a year — are identified by defense counsel and assessed by Department of Mental Health personnel as having a mental illness. Prolonged incarceration for people with mental illnesses worsens outcomes and, yes, is more costly and less effective than community treatment.
Yet the county has grossly underfunded the critical community treatment options that judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys want to use and which we know work.
Fed Gov’t Is Investing $145 Million in Re-Entry Programs for Formerly Incarcerated People
California Black Media by Aldon Thomas Stiles, May 13, 2022
Criminal Justice Reform Incomplete, Not Ineffective
LA Progressive, Shane Murphy Goldsmith, May 12, 2022
The communities most affected by persistent violence, poverty, and over-policing have created alternatives to incarceration that create safer, healthier cities.
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.
Social Housing Report Outlines Path to Affordable Housing for All
Non Profit News/Nonprofit Quarterly, Steve Dubb, May 4, 2022
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.”
Critics of plan to relocate youths from L.A. juvenile hall increasingly vocal before May 1 move
LA Times, By Libor Jany, April 30
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.
Justice Highlights Within LA County’s First Proposed 2022-23 Budget
Witness LA, April 27, 2022, by Taylor Walker
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.
Editorial: Release California from the prison of over-incarceration
By The Times Editorial Board, April 13, 2022
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.
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
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.