Policy and Advocacy 2022
Policy and Advocacy Updates
Policy updates will be posted here as they happen!
November 1, 2022
11 LARRP Priority Bills Signed into Law!
The vibrant participation of the LARRP community in our advocacy and activism at the state and local level made our policy efforts this year a huge success!
After a year of extensive lobbying and robust community engagement efforts, we are proud of the 11 bills which were signed into law!
We are also working to understand what issues prevented some of our priority legislation from passing. Five of those bills were vetoed, and four bills did not make it out of the state legislature.
We will be following the implementation and execution of the laws which we helped pass, striving to keep abreast of the changes and procedures affecting our community.
September 30, 2022
California has now become the first state in US history to allow almost all old convictions on a person’s criminal record to be permanently sealed thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom for signing the landmark #SB731 into law!
Update August 31, 2022
LARRP’S policy work in the month of August had some incredible victories and some very unfortunate losses, but we are proud of the work we have completed and want to thank you for your outreach and advocacy efforts along the way.
- AB 1816, Assemblymember Isaac Bryan’s Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program, has been pulled from the floor amidst budgetary and political issues that have come to light in the last few months. We will be revisiting this legislation next year alongside our cosponsor team to continue pushing hard for a long-term permanent supportive housing program.
- Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 2383, the Statewide Ban the Box initiative, was held in suspense, meaning it will also not be moving forward this year. You may remember that this bill was missing 2 key components widely supported by the reentry community statewide. While the bill is not moving forward this year, we have heard from the coalition that we will be working to get it reintroduced in the next legislative year with language to solve some of the aforementioned issues with its current iteration. Read an article about it here
We are extremely grateful to have advocates like you who continue to take a stand with us as we fight to save 211 LA from the robots! Your letters of support, phone calls, and community organizing made a tremendous difference. The County Board of Supervisors voted 2-2 with 1 abstention not to approve the Deloitte contract. The Item needed a majority vote to pass, so the contract was not awarded. We will continue to work with 211 LA in the coming days and weeks to this vital and human centered information and referral service, you can keep up with 211LA’s work here.
That same day the Board of Supervisors passed the last of 3 votes needed for the Charter Amendment, as drafted by LA County Counsel, to appear on the November ballot, with another 4-1 vote with Supervisor Barger casting the lone NO vote. The Check the Sheriff Coalition is asking all organizations to publicly endorse the campaign through this link. Even if you previously signed the Charter Amendment Coalition Letter, you need to re-submit your endorsement as this is now an official ballot measure. It is 100% allowable for 501c3 non-profits to endorse issue ballot measures under California and Federal laws.
July 22, 2022
Sheriff Oversight And Accountability Update
Just last week, the Board of Supervisors voted to support a motion to put a charter amendment for Sheriff Accountability on the November 8, 2022 ballot for voters to decide on. This is VITAL to our community, because despite our work on Measure R securing subpoenas and other oversight tools, Sheriff Villanueva has constantly ignored county requests, legal subpoenas, and other correspondence from the Board and County staff. With a former LA Sheriff in prison and the current Sheriff resisting all oversight, it is time for meaningful structural reform which requires amending the County Charter. If you did not attend today’s general meeting, you can see the presentation HERE.
Community advocacy and outreach is one of the most important tools we have to enact change, and we are calling on you to find your Board Supervisor here, and give their office a call to voice your support for true oversight of the Sheriff’s Department. The motion is item 61 for the July 26th meeting next week.
If you are a member of an organization that works within LA County, we are also asking you to submit a letter through the LA BOS Public Comment portal here. Follow this linkto find the template letter, plug in your organization’s information and letterhead, and send it to the Board to show your support for this vital push.
It can be uploaded here under item 61, and it also needs to be sent to each Supervisor’s Justice Deputies, the staffers who handle these issues for the Board supervisors.
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!
July 13, 2022
Victory update- Charter Amendment for Sheriff Accountably!
The LARRP team would like to provide a small update on the Vote that occurred yesterday.
Supervisors Mitchell, Solis, and Kuehl, the Board of Supervisors just voted 4-1 to pass the motion that will begin the month-long process to refer to the voters for the November 8, 2022 general election our charter amendment proposal for common sense checks and balances and accountability of the sheriff.
Shout out to Sam Lewis for powerful public comment and being the amazing advocate you are!
We ask that you and your agencies stay active on- social media! Here are some tweets you can help retweet or use a sample for your own tweets!
June 23, 2022 Thanks to those of you who wrote letters of support and opposition in our last action request! We wanted to circle back and let you know where those bills stand, and the others we have stood together on.
Isaac Bryan’s AB 1816, the Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program, has passed through the California Senate Housing Committee and is moving to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which we hope will be the bill’s last stop before its final Floor vote in the State Senate. With your support we have made it this far, and we are asking you to continue reaching out to your State Senator (who you can find here) and asking them to vote in support of this bill when the floor votes.
We are still waiting to see what the fate of SB 1262, Senator Bradford’s bill which would expand public court records and access to criminal backgrounds checks.
As you know, background checks often produce incorrect and harmful information, and we have worked hard to secure that information to protect the constitutional right to privacy that has so often been taken away from the reentry community. We encourage you to call Assemhblymembers Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Isaac Bryan, the authors of the aforementioned bills we are co-sponsoring, and tell them that you support their bills, but that they should stand against SB 1262 to help continue supporting the justice-involved community.
Our other bill, Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 2383, the Statewide Ban the Box bill, is awaiting its hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We encourage you to also tell your senator to support this bill in its committees and the Floor Vote when the time comes.
In the County space, we asked you to help us support Holly Mitchell’s push for greater ODR funding and support, and that was tabled and moved to next week’s BOS meeting. On Tuesday, June 28, the Board will continue conversations on this motion to provide funding for 300 new ODR beds, and in the time between now and then, we are asking you to reach out to your Supervisor and tell them you support Supervisor Mitchell’s motion to expand ODR beds and support.
Lastly, LARRP signed on alongside the ACLU and other organizations to call for the BOS to have greater oversight for the LA Sheriff’s Department. This is a key position as the Sheriffs oversee significant portions of the justice system, so providing greater control to the BOS means we can see more serious changes in-line with community desires and pushes for decarceration.
Keep checking your emails to keep up with our legislative pushes, and as always, thank you for your unwavering support for our work. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Charles at Charles@lareentry.org.
May 26, 2022 Exciting news! Just moments ago, The California Assembly voted to send AB 1816 Bryan) to the Senate. With 49 votes, we secured almost 5/8 of the entire Assembly.
This bill will create the Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program, a 200 million dollar pilot program dedicated to creating permanent supportive housing for the reentry community, as well as specialized workforce programming to help the formerly incarcerated community secure high-quality, good paying jobs.
May 27, 2022 As a follow up, our second co-sponsored bill, Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 2383, also passed with 43 votes in the Assembly! We expect both to be in their senate policy committees by the middle of June, but with both of these successes under our belt, we are in a fantastic position!
This bill will create a statewide “Ban-The-Box” initiative for housing, banning landlords and other entities from asking rentees about their criminal conviction history in the initial housing application process.
April was an incredibly busy month for our policy work and we are excited to share with you all of the vital work we have been engaged in!
March 1, 2022
LA Board of Supervisors, Motion 20
During yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted unanimously to approve Motion 20, which will create a plan to track and collect data related to employment with County Departments and County contractors on a public Fair Chance Hiring Dashboard, ensure county offices and contractors are following the letter and spirit of the law, and create tailored sensitivity training to ensure justice-involved individuals are treated fairly and respectfully.
AB 328 Update and what it means for our ongoing policy work.
Unfortunately, though we were able to bring many organizations to participate in the political process, AB 328 was held in the Assembly Appropriations committee. This means that this bill will not be eligible to become a law this year.
As a result, the group of Co-Sponsors (LARRP, REPAC, CSH, and Housing CA) met with Isaac Bryan's staff to discuss what happened in Appropriations and how we will be going forward. The new Chair of Appropriations, Assemblymember Chris Holden, expressed support for the concept and encouraged Asm. Bryan to reintroduce something to advance this issue this year. The concerns of Asm. Holden were that we were requesting ongoing funding, and that the bill was not referred to the Assembly Public Safety Committee as well.
In checking in Asm. Bryan’s office briefly, it looks like they plan to do just that! They said they plan to introduce a new bill to keep this fight going and are going to push to get the program outlined in AB 328 into this year’s budget. We are waiting to hear more about when this will happen, but the deadline is February 18, so we will be working with Bryan and our Coalition.
I want to thank you all for the support you gave this bill and the policy team in our work around this bill. As we continue to push for the importance of reentry-specific supportive housing, that fight is rooted in the work you all do every day.
January 13, 2022
We are working on 3 bills as our co-sponsorship slate as of now.
AB 328 (Bryan)- The Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Act- LARRP staff are in meetings this week discussing working on getting this bill out of committee. These meetings were with members of Assembly Appropriations staff, Housing CA, and the Coalition for Supportive Housing. It is in Assembly Appropriations at the moment and must be passed out by January 21st. The current budget ask for this bill is $200 million to fund the 2023 fiscal year.So we are mobilizing our network to provide call-in support and letters of support to the new Chair of Appropriations, Assemblymember Chris Holden.
SB 708 (Skinner)- this bill, which deals with CalFresh benefits continuum of care, would allow the state to seek federal support to provide benefits to those who are incarcerated to ensure they have coverage once they return to the community without having to reapply. LARRP’s Staff has met with Senator Skinner’s legislative staff to discuss substantial language changes to the bill to align it with the goals and nomenclature of the progressive justice movement.
SB 731 (Durazo) Sunsetting Convictions- We have 2 meetings scheduled next week with our communications and policy coalition teammates, including CSJ, ARC, and Homeboy. We will have a better understanding of the steps we need to collectively take once we all touch base about what this year will look like. We are experiencing some pushback from education groups as a result of concerns based around public access to conviction records. We are also facing an issue of assembly voter support numbers. There are 4 empty Assembly seats and we only had assembly support by 2 votes when we worked on this bill last year. As a result, we are working on securing new support from the Assembly to make up for this new shortfall of resignations.
By January 31, we will know which of these bills is still viable and capable of becoming law this cycle, and which of the bills from last year will continue this year as well.
As we work to understand how LARRP can continue to support this work, we will keep in communication with our network and partners to provide a unified policy front for Reentry.
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.
The DA's Corner is a new feature in our monthly newsletter where we will some of the amazing new work happening in the DA's office. These policies and programs have direct benefits to our population and yet few know about what they are actually doing.
LARRP General Meeting, June 2022
Updates from LA District Attorney’s Office.
April 1, 2022
- A Conviction Integrity Unit, expanded from 3 to 8 attorneys and supervisors, which reviews post conviction cases for wrongful conviction complaints, and re-reviewing some rejected claims.
- A Resentencing Unit, 6 attorneys and supervisors, prioritizing cases for those over 50 years old, those in custody for over 10 years, and those sentenced to 20+ years, those with non/non/nons and no prior super strikes, and 14-15 year olds who were convicted in adult court of serious crimes (excluding murder).
- They have received over 10,000 requests for resentencing
Policy Priotities 2022
May, 2022, The bills listed here represent the highlighted policy priorities that the LARRP policy team has moved forward on presenting to the Steering Committee.
We have compiled the links to their legislative information pages and, where available, fact sheets provided by the author’s office which list supporters, opponents, and other key contexts.
We are working on securing a fact sheet for each bill but some offices have yet to return our requests.
The LARRP Policy and Advocacy Committee 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 Committee will develop and advocate 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.
Committee work will be guided and prioritized by 3 questions:
- Will it have a direct impact on the lives of impacted people?
- Does it address reentry systems or services?
- Does it reduce racial discrimination in the criminal legal system?
- Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Justice Deputy- John Matthews, Email- JMathews@bos.lacounty.gov
- Supervisor Hilda Solis, Justice Deputy- Esther Lim, Email- ELim@bos.lacounty.gov
- Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Justice Deputy- Veronica Pawlowski, Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Supervisor Janice Hahn, Justice Deputy- Kyla Coates, Email- KCoates@bos.lacounty.gov
- Supervisor Katherine Barger, Justice Deputy- Christina Mesesan, Email- Cmesesan@bos.lacounty.gov
- Overview of the California Legislative Process
- Legislative Terminology
- How to Find Your California Representative
- The Life Cycle of California Legislation
- For a great resource on the State Legislature follow the latest updates on Bill Watch
CalNonprofits is working on two budget requests and three state bills that are crucial for nonprofits right now and want to share an update on them as well as other pending state and federal legislation. See them HERE
LARRP has finalized our annual list of 2021 State Legislative Policy Priorities.
The Policy Team combed through and considered hundreds of bills, and this list is the final collection of bills that our Steering and Executive Committees have marked as the highest-priority state legislation being deliberated in Sacramento.
These bills cover a wide range of critical reentry issues, from sentencing reform, to housing, employment and restitution of civil rights. One such bill, SB 416 (Kalra) is an incarcerated student bill of rights, which serves to ensure that students in CDCR custody have access to quality accredited educational opportunities.
These are bills that LARRP will serve as a key supporter on, sending letters and providing testimony when needed. And we may be calling on you and your organization to assist us with calls, letters of support, or community outreach to further demonstrate the importance of this work. Please click the buttons to see the list of priorities, and an in depth analysis
LARRP Supported Legislation 2021
LARRP Co-Sponsoring SB 731 (Durazo) - Sunsetting Criminal Records
SB 731 (Durazo) will implement a comprehensive system to seal criminal and arrest records. Nationally, an estimated 70 million people, and 8 million people in California alone, have a past arrest or conviction on their record. Currently, California maintains an individual’s criminal records until that person reaches 100 years of age. We are saying #TimeDone! This bill will ensure that one’s time served is not a permanent mark on their life and barrier to future success.
- SB 731 (Durazo) proposes a structured, automated approach to sunsetting criminal records, and includes the following major provisions:
- Automated sealing of all arrest records that do not result in conviction.
Expand record sealing to all conviction records following completion of incarceration, post-release supervision, and 1-2 years with some specific exemptions.
- Retroactively provide the same opportunities for sealing relief for individuals convicted on or after January 1, 1973.
SB 731 (Durazo) is a landmark piece of legislation that will work to ensure that any Californian who has had a criminal conviction in the past is not haunted by it forever. This bill, SB 731 (Durazo), builds on AB 1076 (Ting), which LARRP and so many of you supported last year, which created greater access to record expungement. The issue is that expungement is an arduous, expensive, and bureaucratic process, and as such it is difficult for many to access relief. SB 731 (Durazo) will make this entire process automatic after the set period of time and ensure that relief is granted retroactively.
Please watch the press conference featuring LARRP’s Executive Director Troy Vaughn HERE, and download the fact Sheet below.
Please get involved and sign up as a SB 731 (Durazo) supporter!
We at LARRP know that our greatest strength is our network of dedicated service providers, advocates and directly impacted people and their loved ones, and so we are asking each of you to help us by showing your support for this bill.
Please fill out this form in order to officially join on as a SB 731 (Durazo) supporter, and add your organization’s logo to our letters of support to the California State Legislature. We will have template letters and other actions for you to take in the coming days, weeks, and months. Feel free to reach out to LARRP Policy Coordinator Charles Vignola, Charles@lareentry.org, with any questions or to get more deeply involved with LARRP’s 2021 policy agenda.
AB 717 Cal ID Expansion Bill AB 717 (Stone) calls for CDCR and the DMV to provide specific support and a mandate to ensure all individuals receive help and guidance to procure the necessary documents, as well as to receive their ID cards. These cards are vital, and are necessary to access state benefits, employment, and many other resources and services.
WE need your support! Expanding Los Angeles County’s Felony Incompetent to Stand Trial-Community Based Restoration Program
On the November 2, 2021 meeting of the LA County Board of Supervisors, LARRP submitted the following letter in support of Supervisor Solis' Inmate Welfare Fund Motion. In LA County, the price of phone calls and the mark-up on commissary items helps to fund facility maintenance and programing support for the carceral population. The maintenance fund has very little official oversight, and as such, Supervisor Solis has requested this motion to audit the Inmate Welfare Fund to better understand its cash flows. As the county has also looked at free phone privileges and at-cost commissary goods, it is also to conduct such audits to understand the fiscal impact of reducing these incoming funds and understanding the true costs of ongoing programing and maintenance.
Update November 1, 2021,
- Primarily, the BOS voted during the October 19 meeting to continue their support of families affected by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department with an emphasis on identifying sustainable funding for and streamlining the family assistance program. This motion tasks various groups, including the civilian oversight commission, to look at funding, as well as other metrics such as families affected, denied, and supported by the program.
- During that same meeting, the Board also voted to comment on their affirmation of the importance of the DREAM act, and to increase support for undocumented individuals and immigrants. This will look at gaps in housing, and recommend further steps to ease the burden on this population with steps like improving bilingual and culturally competent services through partnerships with community-based organizations and strengthening linkages between the homeless services system and immigration legal services.
- Lastly, the board voted to declare a homelessness shelter crisis, which will be in effect for one year beginning in November, and which will authorize the county to proliferate support for housing and other services to the unhoused population.
All of LARRP's Priority Bills that made it out of the legislature were signed into law by the Governor!!!
- AB 118 (Kamlager)- Community Emergency Grants
- AB 292 (Stone)- Early Release Credit Realignment
- AB 333 (Kamlager)- Gang Enhancement Sentencing Overhaul
- SB 71 (McGuire)- Education Diversion Opportunities
- SB 73 (Wiener)- Controlled Substance Minimum Revocation
- SB 81 (Skinner)- Enhancement Overhaul
- SB 416 (Hueso)- Incarcerated Student's Bill of Rights
- SB 483 (Allen)- Sentencing Enhancement Overhaul
- SB 629 (Roth)- AB 717 in a slimmed-down form/Incarcerated individual ID Cards
July 9, 2021
LARRP signed on to support funding for harm reduction programs in LA County
The LA County Chief Executive Office just released a revised budget to implement Measure J (Care First Community Investment) for the first year. This spending plan includes a recommendation to invest in harm reduction programs but reduces the initial $15 million proposal submitted by the Measure J Advisory, down to $6 million, a huge reduction given we are in the midst of a global pandemic and overdose crisis. LA County must support the expansion of harm reduction services now more than ever.
Policy Update August 1, 2021
July was a quiet month for policy, as the state legislature is in recess until August 16, 2021.
All 13 of our remaining priority bills are still under consideration in the state legislature, and we are working hard to call and email legislators in order to advocate for these positions. We are asking you, our network, to also reach out to your elected officials and make clear your positions on these bills. During the recess period, most state legislators are back in their districts taking meetings with constituents, so if you're interested in getting involved in the political advocacy process, it is a great time to begin. Please see the list of priority bills below.
Our county work has been involved with the LA County Board of Supervisors’ vote on the first 975 million dollars of American Rescue Plan Funding. We advocated for over 164 million for programs like job training for the reentry population and the expansion of ODR funding for beds, and many other programs to expand access to resources for the reentry community. That letter can be found below as well if you would like to see what specific line-items we spoke in favor of.
Our last policy and advocacy update comes from our federal work. Last week, LARRP signed on as a supporter of the bipartisan Sherrill/ McKinley Expanding Pathways to Employment Act. This bill sets out to provide specific funding and support for many folks who are disenfranchised by the system including those who have faced historic discrimination, such as the population who are experiencing homelessness and the reentry population. Our support will help to provide more equitable workforce training and support for the reentry world.
We are also planning a LARRP policy workshop for August 19, 2021 from 1:00PM-2:30PM. We will be providing an overview of the California state government, and lobbying strategies on how to begin your journey as a policy entrepreneur. If you are interested in this training, we encourage you to sign up for information HERE!
CONTACT YOUR SUPERVISORS Secure Funding to provide over 3,000 beds and close MCJ
- I am writing in support of Chair Solis' ARP funding proposal to LA County CEO Davenport. The allocation of $237 million to provide over 3,000 community-based beds for the MCJ population is a crucial step toward decarceration. The County has identified the need to close MCJ and has identified that funding programs like this are the first key step toward that goal. As an individual who is deeply concerned about the treatment of our most vulnerable populations, we must ensure that individuals with mental health or substance use disorders are still given quality care and dignity, and by funding proven methods of care, we can work toward that goal.
Policy Update July 1, 2021
- SB 731, our Sunsetting Convictions bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee, showing that there is significant political pressure behind allowing formerly incarcerated individuals to seal their records after serving their sentence.
- SB 81 (Skinner) also was voted on and approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee, and would ensure that sentencing enhancements that do not serve a clear and compelling purpose are no longer added to an individual’s sentence, and that those who have been given an enhancement would have legal recourse to have it minimized or taken entirely off their sentence.
- On Tuesday, June 22nd, the LA Board of Supervisors approved the creation of the Jail Closure Implementation Team (JCIT). This motion, authored by Chair Hilda Solis and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, is a major step in closing the Men’s Central Jail. We have been told by Board staff that LARRP’s network efforts will play a key role in the initial stages of the MCJ closure.
- In line with this incredible news, we have been informed that on July 13, the Board will also have a vote pertaining to funding requests put forth by Chair Solis that would, among other things, allocate $237 million toward community bed development to divert individuals away from incarceration. This funding, which was identified as a priority by the MCJ Closure Workgroup, will com from President Biden’s newly signed “American Rescue Plan".
- We have also been told by Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office that they are looking to secure funding to build the County’s Psychiatric Mobile Response Team infrastructure in preparation for the launch of 988 next summer. Supervisor Hahn’s office has requested our network to support their request for ARP funding for this project as well, as it will ensure those experiencing a mental health crisis are able to receive around the clock emergency care without the intervention of law enforcement. If you would like to support this work, please make sure to open the newsletters and policy blasts for the most up-to-date information on how to make your voice heard.
- The next update comes from the City of Los Angeles, which recently voted to support SB-57 (Wiener). This bill would allow LA, Oakland, and San Francisco to create Overdose Prevention Pilot Sites where individuals with substance-use disorders could safely use drugs in a safe, sterile space, supervised by medical professionals. The resolution passed by the city further shows their support for such a site, and helps to continue our work of treating substance use as a medical issue instead of a judicial one. This is a bill that has been worked on in many forms by LARRP over the last 3 years, and is a top priority of the Integrated Health Committee.
- On the state level, we are asking for you to submit letters of support of AB 717 (Stone), the Cal-ID bill that we are co-sponsoring. This bill will ensure that all individuals leaving CDCR custody are given either a drivers license or state identification card. These are vital to accessing support services, housing, and employment, and so ensuring their issuance will provide one less barrier for those who will be leaving the carceral system. AB 717 will be in the Senate Public Safety Committee, though it has yet to receive a hearing date. We are asking for your letters to be submitted as soon as possible, as once the hearing is set, you will only have a few days to complete the letter. The template for the letter can be found HERE and instructions can be found HERE. If you have any questions with how to submit your document, please reach out to LARRP’s Policy and Legal Coordinator, Charles Vignola, at email@example.com.
A few things we are watching on the National level
- Create a grant program that funds community-based organizations to implement approaches to community safety that don’t center policing or incarceration.
- Provide grants that allow state and local governments to shrink their criminal-legal systems and invest in community-led public safety campaigns.
- Fund the hiring and training of non-police first responders across the country.
- Establish a federal first responders unit to respond to emergency health crises.
MCJ Closure Update on Motion 27
June 25th, 2021
During today’s LA County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted 4-1 to approve the creation of a Jail Closure Implementation Team. The dissenting vote was cast by Kathryn Barger, the Supervisor of the Fifth District, encapsulating areas of northern LA including Santa Clarita. According to the motion put forward by Chair Hilda Solis and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Motion 27 will create the “Jail Closure Implementation Team (JCIT) whose specific and immediate focus is to implement [and] accomplish the proposed MCJ depopulation and closure.”
LARRP has been working with the County on strategies and plans for how to close MCJ over the past two years, and with the creation of the JCIT, the first concrete step toward demolishing MCJ has been accomplished. In addition to this motion, Supervisor Mitchell also added specific language to ensure community engagement is a top priority for the JCIT.
We know that developing the infrastructure to support the individuals currently incarcerated at MCJ will be a significant undertaking, but the humane and dignified care of these individuals is our top priority, and we will continue to work closely with the Board of Supervisors and other workgroups to promote high-quality community alternatives to incarceration.
Our work is powered and inspired by you, and without your support and outreach, we would not have the opportunity to accomplish what we have. When you provide written or spoken comments to the Board, or upload a letter of support, you are telling the world that the incarcerated population is not only cared about, but should be a top priority for anyone in a position of power.
Policy Update - June 4, 2021
- The retroactivity for the bill now only expands back to January 1, 2005, as opposed to the original date of January 1, 1973.
- The bill now has specific carve-outs to prevent individuals who have a "Serious or Violent felony, or a felony requiring registration". The specific definitions are laid out in various sections of the code that the bill directs to but this widely blocks individuals with sexual or violent felonies from receiving automatic relief.
- An additional period of 4 years was added once an individual completes their sentence to wait for the conviction relief to be granted. This is a period wherein an individual must not be convicted of a new felony offense to receive the relief.
- AB-71 (Luz Rivas)- the Bring California Home Act
- AB-328 (Chiu)- Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program
- AB 907 (Santiago)- Driver's License Fines and Fees Reductions
- SB 106 (Umberg)- Mental Health Program Funding (Innovative Programing Funds)
- SB 300 (Cortese)- Special Murder Conviction Changes
Measure J Year 1 Spending Plan Recommendations (Fy 2021-2022)
On Thursday, June 4 2021, after months of gathering and assessing community input, the Measure J Re-Imagine LA Advisory Committee voted to approve the committee’s funding recommendations for Year 1 programs (Tier #1). The full report includes the spending plan recommendations for Year 1 programs (FY 2021-2022) in addition to outlining gaps in funding for Year 1 and identifying proposed funding recommendations for Year 2 programs (Tier #2 and #3). The funding recommendations include those for existing programs with modifications, program expansion and new programs.
This funding plan includes numerous reentry funding streams, many targeting historically underserved reentry populations like women and our LGTBQ community. We encourage you to read the full summary and link to the full report if you are interested in learning more or seeking funding for your organization.
Below please find LARRP’s summary of the key takeaways from the report.
LARRP Policy Priorities Update
On May 20th, all state bills that were being considered for the 2021 legislative cycle had their status updated as a result of the appropriations process. This is where the State Senate and Assembly Chairs of the Appropriations Committees decide what the price of various bills will be, and whether the bills will make it to a full floor vote. Any bill that does not survive this process is held in suspense and will not continue in the policy process to become a law in our state.
- Within the scope of LARRP's policy priorities, three bills have been held in suspense and will not be moving forward. These bills are:
- SB 106 (Umberg)- Mental Health Services Act: "Whatever it Takes Funding" for Mental Health programs and bureaucratic reduction
AB 907 (Santiago)- Driver’s licenses: Misdemeanor charges would be reduced to infractions for driving without a license with a suspended license
- AB 328 (Chiu)- Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program- specific housing and employment support for the reentry community.
These bills may still be considered in the 2022 legislative cycle to go through the process again, so it is just for this cycle that they are no longer under consideration.
Moving forward, our attention will be on the remaining bills, which must be voted on in their house of origin before June 4th.
Over the next few weeks, we will be reaching out for calls and letters to be submitted to various offices in support of these bills. We look forward to seeing the impact we can collectively have on this process.
The Future of Probation and Parole in the U.S.
LARRP has signed onto a statement by a group out of Columbia University on the Future of Probation and Parole in the U.S. This Statement was drafted by EXiT: Executives Transforming Probation and Parole, a network convened by the university’s Justice Lab.
Founded by current and former probation and parole chiefs, EXiT's mission is to transform the systems of probation and parole to be smaller, less punitive, and more hopeful, equitable, and restorative, and the Statement lays out these goals as well as specific policy aims that they believe can help bring that transformation.
While EXiT started by organizing representatives supervision systems, they also recognize the expertise of those who have experienced harm at the hands of those systems. As such, EXiT is now seeking additional signatories, especially people who have experienced supervision and survived crime. Their hope is that this effort can demonstrate a broad base of support for significant change to probation and parole, which can galvanize action.
Please review the Statement, and if you are inclined to add your name in support of the Statement’s message, the form for support can be found here. They are looking for individuals and organizations who have been affected by and operate in this space, so even if you personally have never been justice-involved, your organizational support would help this project continue forward.
Closing the Men's Central Jail
LARRP's April General meeting Centered around the proposal to close the Los Angeles Men's Central Jail. LARRP and our partners have been closely involved with developing the plan which was released at the end of March. If you were not at the meeting, Karen Tamis gave an excellent overview of the plan and we are providing her powerpoint and the final report
MAY 1, 2021 Policy Update
- The “Creation of a ‘Care First, Jails Last’ Capital Project Fund”, introduced by Chair Hilda Solis and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, is a step towards our ongoing efforts to close Men's Central Jail, but we have yet to see a clear commitment to investing in community based placements, which is key to jail closure. Chair Hilda Solis authored a motion to solidify County support for Senate Bill 731 (Durazo),
- The Sunsetting Convictions bill, LARRP’s top priority legislation that the entire network has been advocating tirelessly for.
- And finally, Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Janice Hahn authored a motion to designate April 26-30th "Reentry Week". This key recognition has enabled us to lift up events and programs that center our returning citizens and community needs, further amplifying the key work that you are contributing to the reentry space in LA. Supervisor Mitchell has long been a vocal advocate for LARRP’s work and for improvements to the reentry system as a whole, so we would like to give special thanks to the work she has engaged in.
Update on Expanding Los Angeles County’s
Felony Incompetent to Stand Trial
April 1, 2021, Last week, LARRP was able to mobilize some incredible testimony from individuals involved with the Incompetent to Stand Trial population (IST). In addition to sending a letter signed by dozens of LARRP members to the BOS calling for the expansion of LA County's FIST Program through ODR, Tedman Cheung from the Amity Foundation and Emily Bell from Project 180 LA provided passionate spoken comments, discussing the vital work that ODR has done with this vulnerable population.
We would like to thank both Ted and Emily for being vocal advocates for the work being done with the IST's. We would also like to thank you, our network, for providing your support through LARRP and on the Board of Supervisors website.
Advocacy for those unable to advocate for themselves is some of the most important work we engage in, and it would not be possible without your support. Work with the IST population is far from over, and we hope that you will continue to be an active participant in the meetings and policy work necessary going forward.
This article explains the issue well:
Witness LA, March 25, 2021 by Taylor Walker
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to expand reentry programs that provide community-based treatment to people found incompetent to stand trial who would otherwise languish in LA’s jail system — the largest mental health facility in the country — while they wait for state hospital beds to become available.
The Fair Hiring Software motion
New hires to corporate boards in California still mostly white, despite state law
Last week, the Latino Corporate Directors Association put out a scorecard on CA's progress in diversifying corporate board seats, which was picked up by the SF Chronicle. Sadly, but not surprisingly, it showed that the vast majority - 71.5% - of board appointments in the last half of 2020 went to white candidates.
The Fair Hiring Software motion that Los Angeles Councilmember Buscaino introduced would help make sure directors in corporate boardrooms look more like the residents of LA by giving a diverse pipeline of talent a fair chance to climb the corporate ladder. Requiring transparency from hiring technology vendors will give employers the information they need to avoid screening tools that disproportionately shut out racial minorities.
I encourage you to take a moment to read the article by the SF Chronicle, New hires to corporate boards in California still mostly white, despite state law.
Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI)
UPDATE: Public Safety Realignment Team (PSRT)
In January, The LA County Probation Department, which is the lead agency for AB109, released a progress report on Public Safety Realignment Implementation in LA County.
A quick and exciting update on policy priorities for the 2021 legislative year
As many of you may know, a committee was formed to do a statewide Penal Code Review starting in January, 2020. In the past year, the committee issued 10 nonadministrative memos on over 50 hours of public Committee hearings including testimony from 57 expert witnesses, public comment, and staff research. The full report will be coming in January but in the meantime, I wanted to share the 10 major recommendations the Committee has made (shared in a letter by Chair Michael Romano to the Governor and Legislature on Dec. 10). These items will be in focus in 2021, and can serve as a priority list for us to pay attention to.
1. Reduce punishment, fines, and fees for driving without a license and driving on a license suspended for failure to pay a fine or appear in court.
2. Require that short prison sentences are served in county jail and ensure that time served in county jail does not exceed 5 years.
3. End mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses.
4. Expand misdemeanor theft to include offenses that do not involve weapons or serious injuries.
5. Provide guidance for when judges should dismiss sentence enhancements.
6. Focus gang enhancements on the most dangerous, violent, and coordinated criminal activities and ensure that evidence of gang involvement does not unfairly prejudice juries.
7. Apply repealed sentence enhancements retroactively.
8. Equalize custody credits for people who committed the same offenses regardless of where or when they are incarcerated.
9. Clarify parole suitability standard to focus on risk of future violent or serious criminal conduct.
10. Establish judicial process for resentencing requests by law enforcement and permit people who have been incarcerated for 15 years to request resentencing in the interest of justice.
LA County Policy Update: Restructuring the Public Safety Realignment Team (PSRT)
In December, LARRP cofounders Troy Vaughn and Lynne Lyman worked with Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis on their motion to restructure and reimagine the Public Safety Realignment Team (PSRT), which is the statutory body that oversees AB109 implementation (AB109 was the 2011 CA law that shifted non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual felonies to be served in county jail and probation as opposed to state prison and parole).
Many forget that LARRP was founded in 2011 to respond to AB 109. When we heard our folks would be held in local jails or released on Probation, and possibly given more alternatives to incarceration locally, we realized we needed to rally together our reentry community to be ready to better serve our loved ones coming home. For the past 9 years LARRP has worked to help the County implement AB 109, identified gaps in services, called for split sentencing, and opposed flash incarceration. We launched the 50% campaign in 2014 calling for a full 50% of the AB109 budget to go to services. Our executive director, Troy Vaughn, has held the only community seat on the PSRT for these 9 years, and we had to fight to get him voting rights in the first year.
On December 8th, several LARRP Steering Committee members gave public comment in favor of the motion which passed unanimously. The motion added new County offices like ODR and ATI to the expanded oversight body, along with service providers, advocates, and directly impacted people. Further, the motion directs the expanded body to rewrite and revise the AB 109 implementation plan to reflect the County’s collective priorities on alternatives to incarceration, diversion programs, substance abuse programs, mental health treatment, housing, restorative justice programs, and community-based services. The new body will go on to make funding recommendations for the over $300 million per year that the County receives for AB109.
While the County is moving to align all of its justice sector programming with the “care first, jail last” approach, it is important that Angelinos sentenced to the lowest level felonies under AB 109 not be left behind. We thank Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis for taking on the important work of ensuring our AB 109 population is better served by a robust and more representative PSRT.
LARRP Policy and Legislation 2020
LARRP 2020 California State Legislative Summary
In 2020, the LARRP Policy and Legal Committee reviewed over 50 state bills and prioritized 13 for immediate action, which included letters of opposition/support sent to bill authors and Los Angeles delegation members, phone calls, social media targeting and network
The summary and analysis reflect the relative success and ongoing progress of this legislation in focus, as well as potential missed opportunities and areas for further exploration in 2021 and beyond. Please see the summary chart at the end of this document
for more details on the bills that are referenced in the analysis. To see the full legislative tracker, click here to view.
November 3, 2020 Election Justice Ballot Measures
Presentation by Lynne Lyman
LARRP Co-Founder, Executive Steering Committee
2020 Priority Legislation
Editorial: A strange and chaotic — and meh — year for California lawmaking
LA Times By The Times Editorial Board, Sep. 3, 2020
A good round-up on the close of session
SB 378 (Wiener) Probation Alternatives for Drug Offenses
- Submit your support letter for as soon as possible. CLICK for sample support letter
- Please be sure to put on your letterhead, Sign, and Upload to the California Legislative Portal
- Share a signed copy of your letter with Glenn Backes at firstname.lastname@example.org and Norma Palacios email@example.com.
SB 369 (Hertzberg) California Reentry Commission
- Submit your support letter for as soon as possible. CLICK for sample support letter
- Please be sure to put on your letterhead, Sign, and Upload to the California Legislative Portal
- Share a signed copy of your letter with Ed Little at firstname.lastname@example.org
LARRP’s Policy Priorities in 2020
AB 362 (Eggman) Controlled substances: overdose prevention program
This bill allows the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco the discretion to authorize overdose prevention programs where adults may use controlled substances under supervision of staff trained to prevent and treat overdose, prevent HIV and hepatitis infection, and facilitate entry into drug treatment and other services. This law would be repealed January 1, 2026.
- Spon/Supp - Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Coalition, HealthRight 360, Tarzana Treatment Center, ACLU of California, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, LSPC
- Location: House - Senate | Committee - Sen Health
- Status: 06/26/20 From committee chair, with author's amendments: Amend, and re-refer to committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Com. on HEALTH.
AB 1196 (Gibson) Peace officers: use of force
This bill would prohibit a law enforcement agency from authorizing the use of a carotid restraint or a choke hold, as defined.
- House location: Senate – Committee Location: Sen Rules
- Status: 06/18/20 From committee chair, with author's amendments: Amend, and re-refer to committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Com. on RLS.
AB 1950 (Kamlager) Probation: Length of terms
This bill provides a court may not impose a term of probation longer than two years for a felony conviction and one year for a misdemeanor conviction.
- Spon/Supp - ACLU of Nor/SoCal, SD & Imperial Counties; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, CALI PD Association, Smart Justice California, Cali Attorneys for Criminal Justice
- House location: Senate – Committee Location: /
- Status: 6/16/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
AB 2077 (Ting) HIV & Hepatitis Prevention
To stem the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis, AB 2077 will remove a sunset from an existing law allowing pharmacies to sell and adults to possess sterile syringes for personal use without a prescription.
- Spon/Supp - DPA (Co-Spon), Health Officers Association of Cali, SF AIDS Foundation, ACLU
- House Location: Assembly – Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/23/20 Referred to Com. on HEALTH.
AB 2147 (Reyes) Conservation Camps – Expungement
Creates a process for people who served as firefighters while in prison to expunge their convictions and obtain jobs
- Spon/Supp - ARC, CSJ, Ella Baker, Initiate Justice, Smart Justice California
- House Location: Senate – Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/16/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
AB 2342 (McCarthy) Parole: reintegration credits
This bill will allow people on parole to earn credits, similar to Proposition 57. By incentivizing people on parole to continue their rehabilitation through education, self-help programs, volunteering, and staying disciplinary-free, we are promoting public safety through their success.
- Spon/Supp – Californians for Safety & Justice
- House Location: Senate | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/16/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
AB 2978 (Ting) Retroactive Automatic Expungement for Certain Qualified Misdemeanors & Felonies
This bill will allow individuals with an eligible conviction dating back to 1973 to have their record automatically cleared when a person has fully completed the terms of their sentence. This proposal builds upon AB 1076, which Ting authored and was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019; automatic records clearance, however, applies only to new cases beginning next year and beyond. AB 2978 seeks retroactivity.
- Spon/Supp – Californians for Safety & Justice (Spon)
- House Location: Assembly | Committee Location: Assembly Public Safety
- Status: 3/17/20 In committee: Hearing postponed by committee.
AB 3070 (Webber) Anti-Discrimination Jury Selection Act
This bill would prohibit a party from using a peremptory challenge to remove a prospective juror on the basis of the prospective juror’s race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religious affiliation. The bill would allow a party to object to the use of a peremptory challenge to raise the issue of improper bias based on these criteria. This bill will create a specific process for addressing racial bias in jury selection.
- Spon/Supp – California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Spon.), California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Spon.), California Public Defenders Association, ACLU California, AAAJ-CA, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Equal Justice USE, Initiate Justice
- House Location: Senate | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/11/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
ACA 6 (McCarthy) Elections: disqualification of electors
This bill would direct the Legislature to provide for the disqualification of electors who are serving a state or federal prison sentence for the conviction of a felony. This measure would also delete the requirement that the Legislature provide for the disqualification of electors while on parole for the conviction of a felony. The measure would provide for the restoration of voting rights upon completion of the prison term.
- Spon/Supp - All of Us or None (Co-Spon) (prior version), ACLU of California (co-Spon), ARC (Co-Spon), CURB (co-Spon), Initiate Justice (co-Spon), League of Women Voters of California (co-Spon), Legal Services for Prisoners w/ Children (co-Spon), Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, CSJ, CoCo, Fair Chance Project, Project Rebound Cal State Fullerton, Root & Rebound
- House Location: Secretary of State | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/25/20 Chaptered by Secretary of State - Res. Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020.
SB 855 (Wiener) Health coverage: mental health or substance abuse disorders.
The bill repeals California’s mental health parity law, and instead requires every health plan contract and disability insurance policies that provides hospital, medical, or surgical coverage issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021 to provide coverage for medically necessary treatment of mental health and substance use disorders under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions, as specified.
- Spon/Supp - Steinberg Institute (Co-Spon), The Kennedy Forum (Co-Spon), DPA, NAMI
- House Location: Senate | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/25/20 In Assembly. Read first time. Held at Desk.
Among the many critical legislative wins, were restoring the right to people with felony convictions to serve on a jury (SB310), banning new private prison contracts (AB32), reducing mandatory minimums (AB484), repealing certain sentencing enhancements (SB136), and an automated record clearance system for individuals arrested or convicted after January 1, 2021 (AB1076). You can read a good overview of the many bills here.
Criminal Justice Reforms are Winning in Sacramento
2019 was a banner year for getting criminal justice reform bills passed and signed into law in California’s state capitol. Legislators from San Diego to Los Angeles to Sacramento championed critical bills to reduce police misconduct, reduce recidivism, increase core services and improve life outcomes for the justice involved population. And Governor Gavin Newsom signed the vast majority of them into law, including over two dozen last week.
3 LARRP Priority Bills Signed by the Governor This Week
October 11, 2019
Every year, the Policy and Legal Committee researches state legislation that impacts the reentry community, and the LARRP Steering Committee selects the top 10-15 priorities that LARRP actively supports or opposes. This year LARRP has been tracking and sending letters on 10 bills that encompass different issues in the reentry space. Within our 10 priority bills we wanted to report out on 3 that were signed into law this week.
This 3 bills that were signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, address record clearing relief, time served credits, sentencing enhancements and the burden of the collateral consequences a person faces once their time is done. Please see below for a description of each bill that was signed this week.
Disposition of LARRP’s 2019 Priority Bills as of June 1, 2019
Red = Bill Died
Green = Chaptered by Governor
AB 53 (Jones-Sawyer) Rental housing discrimination: applications: criminal records - This bill will ensure that property owners may not discriminate against formerly incarcerated individuals on the initial rental housing application, 04/24/19 In committee: Set, first hearing.
AB 277 (McCarthy) Parole: community reintegration credits - This bill would create a program under which the length of a parolee’s period of parole would be reduced through the successful completion of specified education, training, or treatment programs, or by participating in volunteer service, while adhering to the conditions of parole, 05/16/19 In committee: Held under submission.
AB 646 (McCarthy) Elections: voter eligibility - This bill would remove those prohibitions, thereby allowing a parolee to preregister, register, and vote, 05/16/19 Asm-Committee Process-Appropriations.
AB 965 (Stone) Youth offender and elderly parole hearings: credits – This bill would apply credits earned by a person while in the custody of Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to reduce specified time limitations related to a person’s youth offender parole hearing or elderly parole hearing, 05/24/19 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. On RLS.
AB 972 (Bonta) Prop 47: resentencing – This bill would establish a process for courts to automatically redesignate as misdemeanors, felony convictions which are eligible to be reduced to misdemeanors because of the passage of Proposition 47 (2014), 05/16/19 In Committee: Held under submission. Assembly-In Committee Process-Appropriations.
AB 1076 (Ting) Criminal records: automatic relief – This bill would require the Department of Justice (DOJ), as of January 1, 2021, to review its criminal justice databases on a weekly basis, identify persons who are eligible for relief by having either their arrest records or conviction records withheld from disclosure, with specified exceptions, and requires the DOJ to grant that relief to the eligible person without a petition or motion to being filed on the person’s behalf, 05/20/19 Read second time. Ordered to third reading.
SB 136 (Wiener) Repealing unnecessary & common one-year sentence enhancements - This bill would repeal commonly used one-year sentence enhancement that is added to each prior prison or felony jail term that an individual has served, 04/23/19 Read second time. Ordered to third reading.
SB 144 (Mitchell) Criminal fees - This bill will end the assessment and collection of administrative fees imposed against people in the criminal justice system, and expunge all previously assessed related debt, 05/21/19 Read second time and amended. Senate-In Floor Process-Third Reading.
SB 575 (Bradford) Second chances Cal Grant - This bill would delete provisions that prohibit a student who is incarcerated from being eligible to receive a Cal Grant award thereby extending eligibility to incarcerated persons to the same extent as the general population, 05/22/19 In Assembly. Read first time. Held at desk.
SB 716 (Mitchell) Juveniles: postsecondary & career technical education - This bill requires criminal justice agencies and colleges to ensure that youths with a high school diploma or GED who are detained in, or committed to a facility have access to a full array of postsecondary academic and career technical education programs of their choice, 05/24/19 In Assembly. Read first time. Held at desk.
2018 - Final Legislative Update on LARRP Supported Bills
We are happy to share that 50% of the state bills that LARRP supported in this session were signed into law by the Governor. Please see our summary in the link below. You can find more detail about any of these bills by going to Leg Info.
Anyone interested in helping develop, track, and support bills for 2019, please write to email@example.com with "Policy Committee" in the subject line.
Click Below for a fuller list of Bills signed or vetoed by Governor Brown
LA County will automatically clear up to 100,000 Prop 64 criminal records! Service may be extended to some Prop 47 cases. And no one left in LA County jail on a Prop 64 conviction!
SB 439 Becomes Law, Ending the Prosecution of Children Under 12
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Published: October 23, 2018
Governor Brown signs landmark legislation to remove barriers to licensing and decrease recidivism
Sacramento, CA—This past weekend, Governor Edmund "Jerry" Brown signed AB 2138, authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu and Evan Low, to remove barriers for occupational licensing for close to 8 million Californians living with criminal records.
AB 2138 was supported by a coalition of 50+ organizations, including East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), Root & Rebound, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), All of Us or None, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Alameda County Public Defender, PolicyLink, the Alliance for Boys & Men of Color, the National Association of Social Workers, and many more.
AB 2138 opens pathways to family-sustaining careers to millions of Californians who have past justice system contact. The bill ensures that close to 40 licensing boards governed under the Department of Consumer Affairs cannot deny people otherwise trained and qualified for licenses due to irrelevant and dismissed convictions. Specifically, the bill creates a seven-year "washout" period after which licensing agencies cannot consider crimes that are not serious felonies, sex offenses, or relevant financial crimes. It also eliminates requirements that applicants self-disclose the details of their record prior to issuance of a California Department of Justice background check, freeing applicants from disclosing from memory alone and refocusing agencies on the facts of an applicant's record. AB 2138 also sets out criteria for considering an applicant's rehabilitation and bans the use of dismissed and sealed convictions, convictions for which a person received a Certificate of Rehabilitation, and non-conviction acts such as arrests that never led to conviction to deny licensure.
Studies have shown that states with more fair processes for occupational licensing have dramatically lower recidivism rates.
Many Californians are denied licenses to work in jobs they are qualified to perform due to old or irrelevant criminal records. In some cases, people are denied licenses for jobs they have performed successfully for years in the past without incident or were trained to do while incarcerated, simply because of a conviction for a minor offense unrelated to their job.
With AB 2138, Californians with criminal records will be able to access licenses for close to 40 occupations they were previously barred from or very unlikely to receive. Covered occupations range from automotive repair to psychology to cosmetology.
The signing of AB 2138 is a huge victory for all Californians.
2018 State Budget
On June 27, 2018 Governor Brown signed and enacted the 2018-19 state budget of over $200 Billion. See the public safety spending summary below. The LARRP Policy and Legal Committee has prepared a brief of the key budget items for the reentry community available to members only.
LARRP Signs Onto Important Jail Diversion Motion
On August 14, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion by Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Barger directing the Department of Health Services (DHS) to work with appropriate partners to conduct a study of the existing County jail population to identify who would likely be eligible for diversion and reentry programs based on their clinical conditions and current criminal charges. The study must be rigorous and scientific and is intended to help guide the County’s strategy for creating and scaling community-based diversion and reentry programs for those with serious clinical conditions. It is LARRP's hope that this study will provide key insights that could reduce the need for building multiple new jails, and even recommend an alternative to LA County Jail continuing to serve as the largest mental health institution in the country.
LARRP was happy to co-sign on to a letter of support organized by the ACLU of SoCal, signed by over 20 justice organizations. The letter contains critical legal analysis and history
‘Keep California Safe’ initiative fails to make the November 2018 ballot
By SAL RODRIGUEZ |OPINION | Orange County Register
July 2, 2018
he much-hyped Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 has failed to make the November 2018 ballot.