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

Of the 12 bills that LARRP sent letters of support for, five were signed into law, one was vetoed by the Governor, and the other six were stalled in the process or became two year bills. You can review a summary and disposition of LARRP’s 12 2019 Priority Bills here.

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.

 

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.
  • 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, Senate amendments concurred in. 10/08/19 Approved by the Governor.
  • 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. 10/08/19 Approved by Governor.

Disposition of LARRP’s 2019 Priority Bills as of June 1, 2019

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 info@lareentry.org 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
Maureen Washburn
Published: October 23, 2018

Read more

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.

Committee meetings

The Policy & Legal Committee has three primary functions.

  1. Organize and host free Record Change Clinics
  2. Host quarterly forums or workshops that further develop policy and advocacy skills
  3. Develop and advocate for the implementation of legislative and administrative policies that reduce recidivism, improve public safety and social justice, safeguard the rights of victims, and decrease incarceration levels while providing accountability to taxpayers, protecting against cost liability, and reducing structural inequalities.

LARRP Policy Priorities

Committee Charter: To develop and advocate for the implementation of legislative and administrative policies that reduce recidivism, improve public safety and social justice, safeguard the rights of victims, and decrease incarceration levels while providing accountability to taxpayers, protecting against costly liability, and reducing structural inequalities.

  1. Remove Barriers to Reentry
  2. Reduce Incarceration Rates and Eliminate Discrimination in the Justice System
  3. Develop a Robust Community ReentrySystem

Committee charter

Policy Committee charter, structure and activities as of July 2012 - click to see or download PDF

Click here for the 2015-16 Committee goals and objectives.

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.