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Gov. Newsom Signs Bill Making Criminal Justice System Data More Transparent and Accessible

October 9, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2019

CONTACT:
Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; will@safeandjust.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a bill that will enhance data-driven policy development by making criminal justice data more transparent, accessible and reliable.

The bill, AB 1331, authored by Asm. Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice, will address data gaps and improve access to criminal justice data by establishing reporting requirements and clarifying existing law regarding access to information, enabling California to reach its full potential as a state committed to data-driven criminal justice operations and policy, as well as transparency.

California began regulating the collection of criminal justice data in 1955, when the legislature passed laws mandating the Department of Justice to collect criminal justice data from a wide variety of criminal justice agencies, including police departments, courts, district attorneys, probation departments, and others.

But the state’s criminal history records suffer from pervasive data gaps that undermine their accuracy and reliability, including missing and/or delayed arrest and case dispositions, missing information regarding failures to appear, and missing or incomplete sentencing information. Data limitations, as well as obstacles to accessing this data also undercut the state’s ability to analyze criminal justice policy proposals and interventions. Even as California pushes its criminal justice system to embrace major data-driven reforms, legislators are deprived of essential data and analysis to evaluate their impact.

Jerron Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice: “We can’t allow a failure to maintain up-to-date information to undermine our criminal justice system any longer. Accurate and reliable criminal justice data is crucial for ensuring that the system keeps our communities safe, treats everyone fairly and is able to evolve and improve based on data and emerging knowledge.”

Gov. Newsom Signs Bill Removing Key Barrier for Crime Survivors to Access Help

October 9, 2019

SB 375 Would Make California a National Leader by Extending Time Limit for Survivors to Apply for Victim Compensation Support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2019

Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; will@safeandjust.org

Sacramento, Calif.– Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed into law a bill that gives survivors of crime more time to apply for key support from the California Victim Compensation Board. The bill, SB 375, authored by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice and Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, would allow people to apply for victim compensation up to seven years after becoming the victim of a crime. Current law requires crime victims to file an application within three years of the crime occurring to be eligible to receive victim compensation.

The three-year deadline has left many victims of crime without access to the victim compensation program that can provide them with the resources they need to attain recovery. Many crime victims are unaware of the victim compensation program, or are not ready to apply in the aftermath of an incident, especially when they are dealing with the trauma of it years afterwards.

According to a 2013 survey of California crime victims, nearly one in three victims reported that they were unaware of but interested in victim compensation. A recent April 2019 report on the experiences of crime survivors in California found that less than one in five victims received the various types of help that the victim compensation program can support, like financial help with medical costs, counseling and mental health support, and emergency housing.

Tinisch Hollins, California state director, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice: “SB 375 ensures crime victims have ample time to access the victim compensation program, so they can recover from trauma and the other negative consequences of crime and violence. By changing the three-year time limit to apply for support, the state will help thousands of survivors in their healing process and ensure our communities are healthier and safer. On behalf of our thousands of California members, we applaud Gov. Newsom, Sen. Durazo, and Asm. Wicks for their leadership and commitment to survivors and safety.”

California Becomes National Leader with Gov. Newsom Signing Bill to Automate Expungement of Past Convictions

October 9, 2019

Permanent Legal Restrictions Placed on Californians Living With a Past Conviction or Record Undermine Public Safety and Family Stability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2019

CONTACT:
Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; will@safeandjust.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a landmark bill that makes California a national leader in establishing broad post-conviction relief after someone has completed the terms of their conviction and rehabilitation. It is one of the most expansive measures in the nation to create an automated expungement process for eligible convictions.

Assembly Bill 1076, authored by Asm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, requires the state Department of Justice to automatically clear eligible records for people who were arrested but never convicted of a crime or convicted of certain crimes and have fully completed the terms of their sentence. Arrests not resulting in a conviction would be automatically cleared one year after the arrest for misdemeanors, and three years after the arrest for certain felonies.

The bill is also a critical step toward creating the infrastructure necessary for certain convictions to automatically be removed from a person’s record once they’ve completed their sentence.

According to a newly released report by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, automatically expunging an old conviction after a person has completed their sentence is key to ensuring people are able to regain family stability and economic security, which in turn is an integral part of a comprehensive public safety strategy.

States across the country are beginning to recognize that post-conviction barriers are harmful to public safety, rehabilitation and their economies and that automated record relief is a key part of the solution. Pennsylvania and Utah have both recently enacted automated expungement legislation, while similar legislation is being considered in Michigan.

In California alone, eight million people are living with a past conviction or record that can lead them to face thousands of legal restrictions to jobs, housing, and other opportunities that are key to family stability and economic security. There are over 70 million Americans across the country living with an old conviction or record. Nationally, it is estimated that the United States loses over $87 billion in gross domestic product every year because of employment losses among people with a past conviction.

Under current law, people can only have old convictions on their records expunged by petitioning courts through an arduous and often costly process. It can require hiring a lawyer to help identify records and file the necessary paperwork.

Jay Jordan, executive director, Californians for Safety and Justice: “California has taken major strides towards improving rehabilitation, yet millions of residents who have completed their sentence, paid their debt, and remained crime-free for years still have old, stale convictions on their record. This leads to thousands of legal restrictions that block people from employment, housing, education, and other critical opportunities. These restrictions undermine public safety and the economic viability of communities across California.

It makes no sense to say someone is rehabilitated and then deny their ability to earn stability and move forward in their lives. Today, we are one step closer to ensuring that rehabilitation is real, communities are safe, and families are thriving. On behalf of the tens of thousands of members of our #TimeDone campaign in California, we applaud Governor Newsom, Assembly Member Ting and the state legislature for prioritizing this smart safety solution. This new law will provide pathways to success for families across our state.”

California State Assembly Approves Bill Removing Key Barrier for Crime Survivors to Access Help

September 10, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2019

CONTACT
Melanie Mendoza

(818) 217-6078; mm@m-consultants.net

SACRAMENTO – The California Assembly approved a bill that would extend the time limit by which crime victims must apply for key support from the California Victim Compensation Board. The bill, SB 375, authored by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, would allow people to apply for victim compensation up to seven years after becoming the victim of a crime. Current law requires crime victims to file an application within three years of the crime occurring to be eligible to receive victim compensation.

The three-year deadline has left many victims of crime without access to the victim compensation program that can provide them with the resources they need to attain recovery. Many crime victims are unaware of the victim compensation program, or are not ready to apply in the aftermath of an incident, especially when they are dealing with the trauma of it years afterwards.

According to a 2013 survey of California crime victims, nearly one in three victims reported that they were unaware of but interested in victim compensation. A recent April 2019 report on the experiences of crime survivors in California found that less than one in five victims received the various types of help that the victim compensation program can support, like financial help with medical costs, counseling and mental health support, and emergency housing.

Tinisch Hollins, California state director, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice: “The health and safety of our communities depend on crime victims getting the supports they need to recover, yet too many barriers to that support remain in place. SB 375 prioritizes the needs of crime survivors by making the system more responsive and trauma-informed, recognizing that people often aren’t ready to apply for victim compensation in the immediate aftermath of an incident. Crime victims shouldn’t be prevented from accessing recovery services because they are struggling with trauma. Ensuring that there are pathways to healing and recovery for those most harmed is key to stopping the cycle of unaddressed trauma that undermines safety and perpetuates harm.”

For San Diego County survivors of crime, a place for comfort and healing

August 17, 2019 | PETER ROWE

At the first San Diego meeting of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, there were candies and tissues on the tables. The sweets were mostly ignored. The tissues weren’t.

AB1076 is critical for making our justice system more just: Editorial

August 12, 2019

According to Californians for Safety and Justice, more than 8 million Californians have an old conviction or arrest on their record. For many of them, this bill would make it substantially easier for people seeking to move on from the mistakes and poor choices of their past to do so.

A living testament to the power of second chances

August 10, 2019 | INGRID ARCHIE

Last month, I welcomed my little girl into the world. Her birth comes 18 years after the birth of my first child, and it’s incredible how different the circumstances they were each born into are, nearly two decades apart. These differences are a reflection of the fundamental changes Californians have made in recent years to how we approach justice. They also underscore just how far we still have to go to ensure people are able to overcome their past mistakes to lead productive lives.

Can’t get a job, housing because of a criminal record in California? This bill might help

July 29, 2019

Millions of Californians who ran afoul of the law could have their criminal records automatically expunged – potentially clearing hurdles to jobs and housing to help them move beyond their past – under a bill being considered in Sacramento. AB 1076 would automatically erase the criminal records of those who successfully finished probation after serving a county jail sentence. Those arrested but never convicted of a crime also would have their records cleared without having to petition the court.

Editorial: California needs to provide better help for crime victims

July 1, 2019 | THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD

California provides money and other assistance to victims of violent crime, but the aid is available only to those who know to ask for it. A longer time to apply for aid is good…Senate Bill 375 by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) would extend the three-year window for filing most claims to 10 years. It’s a good bill and deserves passage.

Assembly Public Safety Committee Approves Bill Eliminating a Key Barrier for Crime Survivors to Access Help

June 25, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2019

CONTACT:
Melanie Mendoza
(818) 217-6078

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday approved a bill that would extend the time limit by which crime victims must apply for key support from the California Victim Compensation Board. The bill, SB 375, authored by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, would allow people to apply for victim compensation up to 10 years after becoming the victim of a crime. Current law requires crime victims to file an application within three years of the crime occurring to be eligible to receive victim compensation in most cases. The change would give California one of longest time limits of any state in the nation for crime survivors to apply for help.

The three-year deadline has left many victims of crime without access to the victim compensation program which can provide them with the resources they need to attain recovery. Many crime victims are unaware of the victim compensation program, or are not ready to apply in the aftermath of an incident, especially when they are dealing with the trauma of it years afterwards.

According to a 2013 survey of California crime victims, nearly one in three victims reported that they were unaware of but interested in victim compensation. A recent April 2019 report on the experiences of crime survivors in California found that less than one in five victims received the various types of help that the victim compensation program can support, like financial help with medical costs, counseling and mental health support, and emergency housing.

Tinisch Hollins, California state director, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice: “The health and safety of our communities depend on crime victims getting the support they need to recover, yet too many barriers to that support remain in place. SB 375 prioritizes the needs of crime survivors by making the system more responsive and trauma-informed, recognizing that people often aren’t ready to apply for victim compensation in the immediate aftermath of an incident. Crime victims shouldn’t be prevented from accessing recovery services because they are struggling with trauma. Ensuring that there are pathways to healing and recovery for those most harmed is key to stopping the cycle of unaddressed trauma that undermines safety and perpetuates harm.”

After prison, I changed my life. But these discriminatory laws still punish me

June 11, 2019 | Jay Jordan

“Yesterday we brought a 1,400-foot “Wall of Consequences” exhibit to the State Capitol. It depicts the nearly 50,000 post-conviction restrictions placed on Americans with old convictions.

These restrictions jeopardize public safety and contribute to the cycle of crime by preventing pathways to success. The very things people are being blocked from reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

I am proud to be at the helm of an organization raising awareness and advocating for change as part of the #TimeDone campaign. We are calling for an end to lifetime obstacles for people that have completed their sentences and a new road to redemption.” – Jay Jordan

Criminal Justice Bills Clear A Major “Suspense File” Hurdle To Land On The House Floors

May 19, 2019

“There are 43,0387 people in the [Post Community Release Supervision] PRCS population in our state which continues to remain steady despite a portion scoring low or moderate on their risk assessments,” Californians for Safety and Justice says. “Unfortunately, too often in current practice, the decision to discharge a parolee is based on completing the full parole term dictated by the offense, not on evidence-based practices and an objective measure of the public safety risk the individual represents.”

Gov. Newsom’s Revised Budget Reflects Unprecedented Commitment to Expanding Access to Services for Survivors of Crime

May 13, 2019

Investments in Trauma Screening for Children, Restorative Justice Part of Comprehensive Approach to Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 9, 2019

CONTACT:

Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261 1398;  will@safeandjust.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to meeting the needs of survivors of crime by prioritizing investments in childhood trauma screening and restorative justice in the revised state budget he submitted to the legislature Thursday.

Newsom’s revised budget also seeks to eliminate the various barriers that serve to block access to victims’ compensation and deter survivors of crime from seeking the services they need and are entitled to under the law.

Included in the governor’s budget is more than $100 million for improving trauma screening for children and the training of health care providers charged with performing the screenings and providing treatment for children experiencing trauma stemming from adverse childhood experiences. The budget also contains an increased allocation for restorative justice programs and increased incentives for local jurisdictions to include restorative justice among the options for case resolution as an alternative to traditional prosecution for victims interested in pursuing such an option. Additionally, the revised budget contains a commitment that the Newsom administration will develop during the next year a plan for consolidating within a new state department under the Government Operations Agency the victims programs currently housed within the Office of Emergency Services and the Victims’ Compensation Board.

Tinisch Hollins, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice: “Gov. Newsom is to be commended for submitting a revised budget that takes seriously the needs of crime survivors and demonstrates a commitment to pursuing a smart safety strategy that is responsive to survivor voices. Creating safe and healthy communities requires ensuring survivors of crime access the services they need to recover and working together to stop the cycle of crime. We look forward to continuing to work with the governor on shared safety priorities.”

Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice: “We applaud Gov. Newsom for standing firmly with survivors of crime and for listening when they demand approaches to community safety that include healing and prevention and not just incarceration. Since its founding, Californians for Safety and Justice has pioneered an effort to ensure the voices of survivors are at the center of policymaking by creating the largest network of crime survivors in the state. We are deeply grateful for the governor’s partnership in this transformative work for safety and justice in California.”

 

Long parole terms waste taxpayer money. Here’s one way to fix a broken system

April 30, 2019

That’s why I’m supporting Assembly Bill 1182, a bill authored by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice. It would align the state parole and probation systems with evidence-based practices by allowing some people to become eligible for release from supervision after successfully completing the first six months. It would also mandate that a person’s risk of committing another crime to be the primary factor in determining whether a person should be released.

An algorithm wipes clean the criminal pasts of thousands

April 29, 2019

“The only downside is that we’re not moving quickly enough,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, an advocacy group campaigning for justice reform.

“We live in a technological age. This is the way that we’re supposed to be doing business. And if it streamlines government, saves taxpayers money, and makes us safe… it’s a no brainer.”

Mr Jordan says that clearing records is a vital part of rehabilitation, a move that reduces the risk of so-called generational poverty. There are said to be 40,000 “collateral consequences” for those living with a criminal record – more than half relate to employment.

“It affects large swathes of our community,” Mr Jordan said. “People from communities of colour, and urban communities around this country, are riddled with folks with convictions.”

California bill seeks to automatically seal 8M criminal records

April 19, 2019

“These things that everyday individuals are able to do, people with convictions aren’t able to do for the rest of their life, and they pose no safety risk whatsoever,” Jay Jordan, project director for Californians for Safety, said.

L.A. Program Dedicated to Counseling Victims of Violence Offers Solace, Understanding to Survivors

April 18, 2019

But the state has made some gains in serving crime victims, according to Robert Rooks, vice president of Californians for Safety and Justice. The organization includes the national Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network and helps victims influence criminal justice policy. Rooks pointed out that California has expanded its trauma recovery centers for violent crime survivors and that both the Victim of Crime Act and Proposition 47 have routed millions of additional funds to victims as well.

“Crime victims want investments in their communities to stop the cycle of crime,” he said. Major barrier survivors face, Rooks added, is that accessing services too often requires them to interact with law enforcement.

Hundreds of Crime Survivors to Call for New Safety Agenda at Rallies Across California to Honor National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

April 13, 2019

“More than anything else, survivors of crime want to prevent anyone else from having to join our ranks,” said Tinisch Hollins, California state director for Californians for Safety and Justice. “What survivors across this state are calling for is for health, wellbeing and rehabilitation to be at the center of our approach to public safety, not just incarceration.”

What California Crime Victims Want From The Criminal Justice System

April 12, 2019

The majority of California’s victims of crime support criminal justice reforms, including shorter sentences, and increased spending on prevention and rehabilitation services in the community, according to a survey commissioned by Californians for Safety and Justice.

Crime Survivors Want More Support and Criminal Justice Reforms, Report Finds

April 11, 2019

A majority of crime victims in California want more support services for themselves and increased investment in rehabilitation programs for offenders, a report released this week concludes. Commissioned by Californians for Safety and Justice, a criminal justice reform advocacy group and crime survivors network, the report is based on surveys of close to 1,000 crime victims from across the state, organizers said. The group released the results to coincide with a gathering of hundreds of crime survivors at the state capitol this week as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.