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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.

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.”

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.

Rap Sheets Haunt Former Inmates. California May Change That.

March 11, 2019

“There are so many of us who just want to be better, but are constantly turned down, turned away,” said Mr. Jordan, who is now project director for Time Done, a program that is part of Californians for Safety and Justice, a nonprofit that advocates to make the criminal justice system less punitive.

Editorial: Automatic criminal record clearance is an idea whose time has come

March 9, 2019

Those barriers also cost the rest of us dearly. According to Californians for Safety and Justice, an Oakland-based criminal justice reform nonprofit, in 2014 the U.S. lost $87 billion’s worth of GDP because of the impact of conviction restrictions on our workforce.

A new push in California to automatically clear old arrest and conviction records

March 7, 2019

Jay Jordan was one of those who struggled to get back on his feet despite having a plan for his life on the outside. Jordan, 33, served time in jail and prison on auto theft and robbery convictions before he was released in 2012.

“We all do this. Everyone around me with a date [of release] was doing the same thing. We create plans, very detailed plans,” Jordan said with a laugh. “I wanted to sell used cars for residual income, sell vending machines. I had it down even to the taxes I was going to have to pay.”

But Jordan said he didn’t qualify for any of those professions because of his record. He ended up working at a temporary employment agency alongside other former inmates, he said, where he injured himself and was then fired after missing work.

“Here I was, trying to do the right thing, trying to do a job that gives me a livable wage, and I get fired for getting hurt,” Jordan said. “I didn’t have any workers’ rights, and I realized very rapidly that something was inherently wrong with this system.”

He ended up joining a nonprofit organization and now pushes for criminal justice reform as the director of the Second Chance project with Californians for Safety and Justice.

Gov. Gavin Newsom uses the power of appointments to shape government in his image

February 27, 2019

Lenore Anderson, executive director of the Californians for Safety and Justice, wants to see Newsom appoint members to the Board of Parole Hearings who have expertise in mental health, drug treatment and helping inmates reenter society.

“We used to be a state with mandatory sentences and warehouse prisons, where punishment was the only focus,” Anderson said. “We’re in an era of change. The public wants rehabilitation. They want to know that people are being prepared for release.”

Are California’s criminal justice reforms actually working?

February 20, 2019

One of those people is Marisa Arrona with Californians for Safety and Justice – a group that helped co-author Prop. 47.

Arrona says that she doesn’t agree with the notion that laws like Prop. 47 have led to a spike in crime.

“For Prop. 47, specifically, there was a study that came out of UC Irvine in the last couple of years that showed there was no causation between Prop. 47 and any spikes in crime,” Arrona said.

Scrubbing The Past To Give Those With A Criminal Record A Second Chance

February 19, 2019

Others say Prop. 47, while a good start, is inadequate. Jay Jordan of Los Angeles served seven years in prison for robbery. He’s been out now for nearly eight years and says he still faces daunting obstacles to full re-entry into society.

“You know, I tried to adopt and was turned down. Tried to volunteer at school and was turned down. Tried sell insurance, was turned down. Tried to sell used cars was turned down. So you know, every single step of the way when I try to better myself and, you know, be able to take care of myself for my family, there are these massive barriers,” Jordan says. “And I’m not alone.”

Jordan now works for a nonprofit that advocates for rights of the formerly incarcerated. In their work, Jordan and others are asking the basic question – how long should these convictions be on somebody’s record if they’ve done their time and are working to become good citizens?