POLICY AND ADVOCACY 2024

Bills sponsored and/or supported by our Partners

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Call for Public Testimony before July 15, 2024

In other national policy arenas, the U.S. Sentencing Commission wants to hear from you. Take action today urging them to reduce life imprisonment, end racial disparities, and make federal sentencing more fair and just.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission writes and updates the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which help shape the sentences imposed by judges in federal courts. Changes to the Sentencing Guidelines can play an important role in reducing mass incarceration. For instance, last year the Commission expanded the criteria for which individuals in federal prisons may receive compassionate release, giving many individuals a new hope of returning to their loved ones.

The Sentencing Commission revises the guidelines annually and this year, for the first time, it is inviting the public to play a greater role in shaping their priorities. Join the Sentencing Project effort to urge the Commission to end federal over-incarceration and reduce life imprisonment by taking action here

You can also help an incarcerated loved one weigh in. Use the comment portal to upload a letter with their thoughts or they can write directly to United States Sentencing Commission, One Columbus Circle, N.E., Suite 2-500, Washington, D.C. 20002-8002, Attention: Public Affairs – Priorities Comment.

The deadline for comments is July 15

July 2024

While the policy work you help us advocate for has a strong track record of success here in California, we closely monitor federal policy and legislative work as well to connect you to the most pressing and important work happening across the country. In this vein, the Supreme Court of the United States is expected to pass down its decision in the case Grant’s Pass, Oregon V. Johnson, in which they will be handing down a ruling on the legality of criminalizing homelessness. This court case, while important across the county, is uniquely important to understand here in California.

We strongly disagree with the Court’s 6-3 decision, and believe the decision unfairly and unjustly allows the criminalization of more than just homelessness, but also poverty and to many, bad luck. Justice Sotomayor wrote that this now forced unhoused folks to “stay awake or be arrested” in cities and states which pass these heinous laws, and that is no way to treat some of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised people in our nation.

We have seen pushes to criminalize homelessness here in California, including SB 1011, which was introduced this year in Sacramento. While your hard work and advocacy helped us keep this bill from progressing, the court case could breathe new life into this horrible policy. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the court case and continue to stay engaged in the policy and advocacy work that helps keep dangerous legislation like this from becoming law.

Get the Facts

LARRP was thrilled and honored to have longtime ally in the justice work, Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove, be our guest speaker for our February General Meeting. Kamlager-Dove previously served in the California State Assembly, and is now a strong advocate for CJ reform in the Federal government. She is working on a number of bills which address injustices in the criminal justice system, including:

  • HR 982, Pregnant Women in Custody Act, authored by Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove, seeks to enhance the services and programs provided to those who are pregnant while incarcerated. This would include limits on restrictive housing for those who are incarcerated or in postpartum recovery, prohibiting the use of solitary confinement for a pregnant individual in their third trimester, and requiring the Bureau of Prisons to annually report on the number of administrative claims and appeals filed by pregnant incarcerated individuals.
  • HR 981, One-Stop Shop Community Reentry Program, also authored by Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove, seeks to authorize support grants to community-based re-entry resources supporting those who are previously incarcerated when they return to the communities.
  • HR 4972, End Solitary Confinement Act, authored by Congresswoman Cori Bush, seeks to limit the use of solitary confinement for those who are currently incarcerated. While there are certain cases where an individual who is incarcerated can request solitary confinement or be placed there for their safety, this bill seeks to limit its use as punishment or retribution from prison staff, and to limit how long an individual can be placed in this housing involuntarily.
  • HR 3220, Correctional Facilities Occupational Safety and Health Act, authored by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, seeks to extend Federal workplace safety and health protections to incarcerated workers. This would apply to any individual in federal, state, or local correctional facilities, or private institutions run under those jurisdictions. Currently, there are major shortcomings in the safety, protections, and workplace oversight for those who are employed while incarcerated, and this bill seeks to establish new procedures and protections for the incarcerated workforce.
  • If you are interested in supporting any of these Federal bills, please reach out to Charles@lareentry.org and he can connect you with Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove’s staff.

 

Policy Updates 2024

LARRP 2024 State Legislative Priorities are now available. See full list with links to each bill below, and stay tuned for advocacy updates!

AB 1810 (Bryan) Update (Cosponsored by LARRP)

Menstrual Equity Bill Gains Momentum

We are excited to share that AB 1810, our menstrual equity bill authored by Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (BOS) as a top priority. Last week, the Board unanimously voted to elevate this bill in the county’s statewide legislative efforts. Along with this support, the Board has instructed county staff to provide regular updates and reports on maintaining fair and equitable access to menstrual products for the county jail population. The addition of the BOS endorsement to our long list of supporters strengthens our fight for equality and dignity for those who menstruate and are incarcerated. See progress

MAY 2024
It’s May….and things are active in Sacramento as the legislative session is in full swing. We are excited to share our huge list of 2024 LARRP State Legislative Priorities, which encompasses all of the state legislation LARRP is prioritizing in 2024, the bills we are sponsoring, supporting, or opposing. LARRP’s policy work seeks to be a resource to inform and mobilize the reentry community around critical reentry policy issues and leverage the expertise of practitioners and impacted people into the policy making process. The Policy Team develops and advocates for the passage and implementation of legislative and administrative policies that improve opportunities for formerly incarcerated or convicted people, their families and communities, and the community-based agencies that serve them. We also give special consideration to bills brought to us by LARRP members and other community partners in our network.

Due to the ongoing state deficit being faced and the need to cut spending across the state, a number of higher profile policy and reform bills were curtailed from last year’s dockets. This year the strategy was to focus on legislation that improves conditions for all incarcerated people, links impacted people to service systems, and upgrades reentry systems and services. In addition to our main co-sponsor bill this year on Menstrual Equity, AB 1810 (Bryan), for access to menstrual products in carceral settings, LARRP is supporting twelve great bills and opposing three of the worst.

For example, SB 950 (Skinner) and SB 1254 (Becker), collectively require CDCR and County Jails to assist eligible incarcerated people to enroll in Medicaid/Medi-Cal, SSI, CalFresh and other programs prior to the person’s release into the community; and SB 1035 (Ashby) caps Restitution Fee annual interest rates to no more than 1%; and AB 2160, Pregnancy Sentencing Deferral (McKinnor), would require that pregnant people should by default avoid incarceration and allow pregnant and postpartum people to request a temporary delay of the court's sentencing. And LARRP is opposing an anti-homeless bill aimed to criminalize the unhoused even further, Encampment Ban SB 1011 (Jones), which prohibits a person from sitting, lying, sleeping, or placing personal property upon a street or sidewalk.

You can find the full list for the 2024 LARRP State Legislative Priorities here, with links to each bill’s language, and as many fact sheets as are available at this time. Note that this document will be updated as more background materials become available, or bills advance or die in the legislature. We have endeavored to provide basic, understandable language for each bill, but we also recognize that some bills are built on pre-existing legislation which can make understanding the new impacts more difficult as a result. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to LARRP’s Policy and Community Engagement Manager, Charles Vignola, at charles@lareentry.org.

APRIL 2024
Sacramento Legislation Updates

AB1810 (Bryan), our Carceral Menstrual Product Access bill, has been placed on the suspense file of the State Assembly Appropriations Committee. This is a process that many bills go through, a step where the financial implications of legislation are analyzed and considered. Based on the state’s own financial information, this bill, which seeks to increase the access and quantity of available menstrual products, is estimated to only cost the state an additional $14,000 dollars per year. The financial concerns around this bill are coming from county jail representatives, who claim high levels of turnover and changes in the local carceral numbers can greatly impact how many folks may need access to these items. We expect the bill to be voted on in mid May, which gives us about 6 weeks to strategize community engagement and activism plans. We are currently producing content for social media and expanding the awareness of this bill with organizations across California. Once the vote has a set date, we will send out emails, post on social media, and place the update on our website to alert you as to the actions you can take to help us push this bill to success!

Election Season
With the March primaries now in our rear view mirror, we begin the long trek toward the November 2024 elections.Important seats for congressional and state leadership will be up for your vote, and we encourage everyone to register to vote. Over the next 6 months political campaigning will be in full swing, and we aim to provide as much impartial, thoroughly researched election information as possible. To check your registration status, register to vote, or see election results, you can use the California Secretary of State website
Election Results from the LAist

Proposition 1 Passes by Thin Margin

The other major update for our community is the passage of Proposition 1. This ballot measure, which passed by an extremely thin margin, seeks to direct state funds toward housing and treatment solutions for the unhoused and those who need substance use treatment and mental health. This roughly $6.5 billion dollar fund will go toward housing, treatment solutions, and expanding the case management infrastructure available. We will follow the policy and implementation details as this Proposition as it takes its final form for the November ballot, and keep you informed.

MARCH 2024 Sacramento Legislation Updates

We are excited to share that LARRP co-sponsored legislation, Assembly Bill 1810 by Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing on February 27th. AB 1810 (Bryan) will enable easier access to menstrual products for those who are incarcerated and experience uterine or vaginal bleeding. Anyone who has been incarcerated or who knows somebody who has been incarcerated will no doubt have stories as to how terrible access to vital goods such as tampons or menstrual pads can be. Destigmatizing this process and providing greater levels of access to hygienic supplies will not only help restore dignity to our communities behind bars, but will also ensure safer conditions, especially for people who experience heavier bleeds due to medical circumstances.

FEBRUARY 2024 As we enter 2024, we are using this time to gather community feedback and listen to our network partners about their priorities in the new legislative year. We have been working to secure bill support positions and working with our key stakeholders to select which bills we will be co-sponsoring and uplifting within the reentry space.

We always want to hear from you, the folks and organizations on the front line, we welcome your vital feedback in this space. If you or your organization are working on state bills, we would love to hear about them from you. If you have any updates you would like to bring to the LARRP network, please let us know by emailing Charles@lareentry.org.

We want to hear from you- please fill out this brief survey so we know what to prioritize in 2024

JANUARY 2024 As we embark on this new year with new vigour and excitement, LARRP is reaching out to you to help us understand your priorities this year and how we can support the legislative and advocacy-based efforts of our diverse community of organization and individuals.

As you or your orgnizations come across legislation, at any level of governance, we are encouraging you to reach out to us and let us help you broadcast your work to our network. As Charles Vignola, our Public Policy and Community Engagement Manager undertakes the legislative research for this year to pick LARRP's policy priorities. We want to invest time and energy in our continuing support of the needs and desires of our community, so any legislation you would like help mobilizing around or working on support for, we encourage you to reach out to Charles at charles@lareentry.org.

Our work is nothing without our community, and your support has always been vital to pushing for better legislation and advocacy in support of the reentry community. We look forward to hearing from you and building a strong basis for this new year!

We want to hear from you- please fill out this brief survey so we know what to prioritize in 2024

How LARRP determines which bills to focus on in Sacramento?

Between January and March every year, LARRP’s Public Policy and Community Engagement Manager, Charles Vignola, reads through hundreds of new bills introduced in Sacramento in order to identify the most relevant legislation for the reentry sector, and to understand the broader legislative context for the year. The selection of bills is guided and prioritized by 3 questions: 1) Will it have a direct impact on the lives of impacted people? 2) Does it address reentry systems or services? 3) Does it reduce racial discrimination in the criminal legal system? Once a list of all the reentry and justice-related bills is assembled, it then gets narrowed down based on the relevance of the bill to LARRP’s work, what organizations are already working on it, and how likely the bill is to succeed and get signed into law.

Once there is a “short list”, a package is put together with bill summaries, links to the bill language, fact sheets, and support letters, which is then provided to LARRP’s Steering Committee, who takes a final vote to approve the Legislative Priorities for that year. This process can be difficult, as many bills die in their first few weeks of the legislative year, so we generally pick out many bills to follow in order to ensure we are able to support as many bills as possible without falling behind as amendments and votes are cast. These bills compromise our annual work to continually support high impact legislation aiming to increase the conditions of the incarcerated and justice-involved populations statewide.

Useful Information:

Here is each office’s Supervisor’s district, the appropriate staff, and their email: