PRESS RELEASES   |   IN THE NEWS   |   VIEW ALL

Survivors of Crime Oppose Proposition 20, Request Mayors of California’s Largest Cities Join Them

September 10, 2020

November Ballot Initiative, Backed by State’s Largest Law Enforcement Associations, Would Increase Spending on Prisons, Widen Disparities and Reduce Investments in Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
September 10, 2020

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

OAKLAND, Calif. – Several of the largest crime victims’ organizations in California sent a letter on Thursday to the mayors of the state’s 13 largest cities, asking that they stand with crime survivors in opposition to Proposition 20. The letter coincided with a press conference held by crime victims and leading district attorneys from across the state in opposition to the November statewide ballot initiative that would increase costly and disparate incarceration while slashing investments in services to help survivors

The letter was signed by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, California’s largest network of survivors of crime, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and Ruby’s Place, which provides survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse crisis services, shelter, counseling and more.  

Sent to the mayors of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Riverside, Santa Ana and Stockton, the letter says Proposition 20 would return California to the days when it was a leader in mass incarceration and failed to prevent crime from occurring in the first place or better met the needs of crime survivors. 

Already, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf have responded by saying they oppose Proposition 20.

Read the full letter here.

“As crime survivors and those who work on their behalf every day, we support policies to prevent crime, reduce recidivism and address barriers that prevent healing,” the letter reads. “More than anything, most victims want assurances that what happened to them will never happen again – to them or anyone else.” 

Proposition 20 would undercut or eliminate entirely the hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings already realized from recent justice system reforms that have safely reduced incarceration in California. That money has been reinvested in local communities and, among other things, funded the creation of more than a dozen trauma recovery centers up and down the state that provide survivors the wrap around services they need to heal.  

An analysis released this week shows that statewide crime rates are lower today than at any other point in recorded history, yet only one in five people who survived a crime in the past 10 years received the help they needed to recover from the trauma of the crime. 

In the letter, crime victims indicate that evidence shows investments in community health, not incarceration, more effectively prevent crime. The letter also makes clear that thousands of Californians are struggling with untreated mental illness, addiction and trauma – among the most well-known drivers of crime and health vulnerabilities. 

“We believe in treatment programs and addiction services to break the cycle of crime,” the letter reads. “We believe mental health challenges should be handled…outside of traditional courts and prisons.”

Passage of Proposition 20 would result in as many as 10,000 more people being locked up every year in our state’s jails and prisons than are currently incarcerated. 

In addition to crime survivors, Proposition 20 is opposed by more than 100 leading labor, civil rights and business organizations including the California Teachers Association, Chicana Latina Foundation, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), California Labor Federation, United Domestic Workers of America, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, California Fire Chiefs Association, United Way of California, Sierra Club, California Black Chamber of Commerce, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (CA) and the Chief Probation Officers of California, among others. 

“We cannot and must not turn back the clock,” the letter to the mayors reads. “We ask you to help us continue the progress we have made together in California by standing with us opposition to Proposition 20 and a return to the failed policies of the past.” 

A recording of today’s press conference announcing the letter and featuring survivors and some of the state’s leading district attorneys and other law enforcement officials is available here.

Statewide Campaign Launches to Educate Californians on How $100 Billion in Excessive Prison Spending Locks State Out of Critical Investments, Encourage Voter Registration & Participation

August 14, 2020

California Spends Astounding $50 Billion Every Year on Criminal Justice System; $100 Billion Spent on Prisons Since 2010 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13, 2020

CONTACT: 

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

OAKLAND, Calif. – A new campaign focused on solutions to California’s economic, health and safety challenges launched a statewide public education effort about California’s extreme annual spending of $50 billion on its criminal justice system. The campaign, #ProgressNotPrisons, is uniting the state’s various stakeholders to raise awareness about the lost investments caused by the state’s $100 billion in prison spending since 2010. It will contrast California spending on the criminal justice system with the need to invest in health care, jobs, schools, mental health, crime victim services and other essential programs. The campaign will elevate the need to support the important work of those in the public health, housing, labor, and education sectors to achieve progress in the state. In addition to multi-sector advocates and organizations, it will also include elected officials and the state’s largest network of crime survivors. 

The campaign is running video ads across the state and staging billboard ads on freeways in between some of the state’s prisons, while encouraging voter registration and participation.

See the video ad here: https://youtu.be/sWI7e9hy4kg 

See the billboard here: https://safeandjust.org/wp-content/uploads/PNP_Billboards.png 

The #ProgressNotPrisons campaign, organized by Californians for Safety and Justice, shows how the excessive spending on failed prisons takes away resources from health and safety solutions for communities, and encourages residents to register to vote. 

“It is tragic for our children, seniors and families that our state has spent $100 billion on prisons since 2010, taking resources away from what we need to be healthy and safe,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “Every additional billion dollars spent on prisons is one that could’ve been invested in prevention to stop the cycle of crime, health care, education, and programs that address homelessness, addiction and mental illness. Californians working on the frontlines to solve our greatest challenges are coming together to say that we can no longer afford to spend more and more billions of dollars on prisons. We need progress, not prisons, and we must engage in our civic duty by registering to vote and casting our ballots.” 

In addition to organizations from across the state, the campaign will be supported by music artists, athletes and other entertainers. Its launch is supported by Grammy-nominated recording artist, John Forté, who has been recognized for his work with multi-platinum hip-hop group, The Fugees. The campaign’s video ad features an original score and voice over from Forté.

Forte stated: “#ProgressNotPrisons is an opportunity for California to lead by example in criminal justice reform by prioritizing families, healthcare, and safety for our communities, rather than continuing to invest billions of dollars in a cruel, biased and broken prison system. It’s a fundamental choice: progress or prisons? This moment in history could not be more important.”

If California redirected just 1% of the $50 billion spent on its criminal justice system each year, the state could invest in:

  • Restoring health care coverage to more than half of the estimated 2.1 million Californians who have lost their health care during the pandemic as of mid-May
  • Providing COVID-19 treatment for 16,000 people, including hospital stays
  • Maintaining 11,000 EMTs or 4,000 nurses, at a time when 1.4 million healthcare workers throughout the country lost their jobs during the month of April alone
  • Providing shelter to nearly half of California’s estimated 108,000 unsheltered homeless residents, at a time when an estimated 5.3 million residents are at risk of eviction
  • Preserving 6,000 elementary school teachers
  • Paying for public education for 41,000 K-12 students
  • Supporting annual tuition and fees for 62,000 university students, nearly one out of every four incoming freshmen

 “We can no longer accept increased spending on prisons when our fundamental health and safety needs require more investment,” said Sen. Holly Mitchell (SD30-Los Angeles). “This excessive spending on prisons takes away from investments in our shared priorities: solving our state’s biggest challenges and prioritizing what Californians need to be healthy and safe.”

#ProgressNotPrisons will focus on weekly themes that highlight the solutions to the state’s challenges that California could invest in instead of spending more on prisons. The themes include crime victim services, schools, jobs and the economy vs. prisons, health care, mental health and addiction treatment, among others. 

“As millions of Californians face hardships from COVID-19 and, at the same time, raise their voices with a renewed call for greater racial, social and economic justice, we need to ensure that equity is at the center of our state’s spending,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). “That means California must take a fresh look at how every dollar is spent. By investing in solutions, not prisons, we can provide a better future for every Californian.”

“The State can’t keep spending so excessively on prisons – especially at a time when we simply cannot afford it,” said Asm. Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “Increasing prison spending is the last thing we should do when funding is at risk for schools, jobs, housing, health care and other solutions that make our neighborhoods safer.” 

“Spending billions of dollars to incarcerate a disproportionate amount of Black and Brown people is just another example of systemic racism,” said Daniel Forkkio, chief executive officer of Represent Justice. “This initiative is a reminder of the shocking amount of resources that go into California’s broken carceral system, which could be better used for community investments that support true public health and safety. Represent Justice is proud to be a part of #ProgressNotPrisons and looks forward to amplifying the untold stories of families who are impacted by the justice system and envisioning a more just future for all Californians.” 

Californians for Safety and Justice Calls Decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom to Release Thousands of People in Response to Outbreak of COVID-19 in State Prisons A Step in Right Direction

July 10, 2020

Safely Reducing Overcrowding in State Prison System a Public Health Imperative as Number of Cases, Deaths Continue to Rise, But More Action Needed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

July 10, 2020 

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

OAKLAND, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a plan to release 8,000 more people from the state prison system in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in prison facilities up and down the state, including the San Quentin state prison where more than 1,300 people incarcerated have contracted the virus and at least seven people have died. 

Most of the COVID-19 infections at San Quentin have been reported in the past few weeks, after a disastrous decision by corrections officials to transfer prisoners from the California Institute for Men in Chino, where a documented outbreak of COVID-19 had occurred, to San Quentin. Now, nearly half of the people incarcerated at San Quentin have contracted COVID-19.

Earlier this spring, Newsome ordered the release of 3,500 people in prison serving time for non-violent, non-serious offenses and who were within 60 days of their planned release date. The state’s prison population continues to far exceed the prison system’s design capacity, however, creating a dangerous environment that is allowing the virus to spread rapidly. 

To date, nearly 2,500 people in California prisons have tested positive for the virus, while 31 people incarcerated have died. 

The following can be attributed to Jay Jordan executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice:

“The decision today by Gov. Newsom to ramp up safe prison releases is a credit to the advocacy of people and organizations throughout the state who have demanded clear action to protect public health and safety. It’s ironic that California has a moratorium on the death penalty, yet people are being killed in prisons by way of COVID. There is a moral imperative for bolder action to reduce overcrowding in our prisons. Too many people are locked up for too long by a bloated system that spreads poor health across California communities up and down the state. California must release people who are unnecessarily incarcerated and transform our safety priorities, so the core needs of communities that allow them to be safe are met and the number of people sent to prison in the first place is reduced.”  

Survivors of Crime Celebrate Introduction of Groundbreaking Bill Eliminating Barriers to State Support for Victims of Police Brutality

July 7, 2020

AB 767 Would Be First Bill in Nation to Eliminate Barriers to Victim Compensation That Lock Too Many Survivors of Color, Police Violence Victims and Others Out of Critical Support 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
July 7, 2020

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

OAKLAND, Calif. – California’s largest network of crime survivors on Tuesday lauded a first-in-the-nation proposal introduced last week by Asm. Tim Grayson (D-Martinez) that would eliminate barriers to victim compensation faced by victims of police brutality and other violent crimes. 

The bill, A.B. 767, would end California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) denials of the support to victims, based on confusing language that allows them to be blamed for their own death or injury, police reports and conclusions as the only judge of victimization, or based on an old conviction history.  

These restrictions lock many victims of color out of the needed support for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses and counseling. Victims of police violence and their families are typically excluded entirely from the program. (CalVCB) can deny applications if it finds “denial is appropriate due to…the involvement of the person whose injury or death gives rise to the application” or if it finds the survivor “failed to cooperate reasonably” with law enforcement. 

This is particularly perverse for survivors of police violence and the loved ones of people killed by police since a police report documenting the victimization is usually elusive. The very law enforcement official responsible for the injury or death can exert influence over whether a victim is denied support. These policies can also entrench racist perceptions that disregard the recognition of some victims, disproportionately harming Black survivors and other victims of color. Recent analyses of victim compensation denial data in other states have found those that apply subjective “contributory misconduct” exclusions, and conviction-based restrictions, deny Black victims and families at disproportionate rates.

The bill would also:

  •  Bar denial of a victim compensation application based solely on the contents or absence of a police report
  • Allow CalVCB to rely on documentation other than a police report to determine a crime occurred, like a report from a mental health provider
  • Bar denials for non-cooperation with law enforcement if the survivor has taken actions to support their safety and healing, like seeking medical or mental health treatment 
  • Change the definition of “crime” in compensation law to ensure eligibility for compensation is not dependent on whether there is an arrest or persecution

The following can be attributed to Tinisch Hollins, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice:

“A.B. 767 takes a comprehensive approach to changing policies that have served only to lock too many survivors out of victim compensation for too long. For decades, crime survivors, and survivors of color in particular, have been leading calls to eliminate barriers and ensure survivors of all violence, including police violence, can receive compensation. In addition to leaving entire communities with no resources for addressing trauma, these policies have served to entrench racist perceptions of survivors as “deserving” or “underserving,” disproportionately denying Black survivors and other people of color access to victim services. This must end, and we are proud to stand with Asm. Grayson in this fight.” 

Additional information about the bill is available here.

As Legislature Confronts COVID Crisis in Prisons, New Report Outlines Strategies to Safely Reduce Prison Crowding with Significant Voter Support

July 1, 2020

Recent Outbreaks at San Quentin and Other Prisons Underscore Urgency to Prevent Virus Spread from Prisons and Keep Communities Safe as Report Identifies Tens of Thousands of People Who Could be Considered for Safe Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 1, 2020

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

OAKLAND, Calif. – As the California Senate Public Safety Committee holds a hearing on COVID-19 in the state’s prisons, Californians for Safety and Justice released a new report Wednesday with voter-supported options to safely reduce the state prison population. The report identifies tens of thousands of people who could be considered for safe release to reduce crowding in prisons during a health crisis that threatens to spread COVID-19. The incarceration reduction options would also decrease wasteful prison spending in the face of a record budget deficit. It also highlights how these options are supported by wide majorities of likely voters in the state, based on a recent poll by nationally-respected public opinion research firm, David Binder Research.

The report, “How California Can Cut Prison Spending, Protect Health and Education Spending and Improve Public safety,” comes as prisons and communities across the state are experiencing new Coronavirus outbreaks, and underscores the urgency with which the state must continue to reduce prison crowding. 

“At a time when California faces an unprecedented public health crisis, massive budget deficits and popular calls to create a more racially equitable justice system, it is crucial that state policymakers take bold steps to continue to reduce the number of people inside of California’s overcrowded prisons,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “By reducing overincarceration and the prison budget, we can protect communities from COVID and provide funding for local public safety programs that better meet the health and safety needs of our communities.” 

According to the report, there are five main policy options for further reducing the prison population safely in order to cut back wasteful spending on failed prisons and address the ongoing threat the spread of COVI-19 in prisons poses to the entire state:

1.     Reduce incarceration of people who are low risk to public safety: According to a risk assessment used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 49 percent of institutional population (63,000 people) were assessed to be low risk to reoffend for a violent crime.

2.     Resentence individuals in prison who are elderly and/or medically frail: 19,000 people in prison (about 15 percent of the prison population) are aged 55 and over. Research shows that the likelihood of people in this age group committing a new crime can be as low as 2 percent. 

3.     Revise the Three Strikes law to reduce extreme sentencing: There are 33,000 people sentenced to prison under the Three Strikes Law, 18,000 of whom were sentenced for a nonviolent offense. 

4.     Require wider use of alternatives to incarceration and strengthen local public safety systems: The latest data shows that 37,000 people sentenced to prison have a mental health challenge. 

5.     Create a task force required to consider multiple options for reducing prison spending

Despite a number of reforms enacted over the past decade in California that have significantly reduced the state’s prison population, there are still more people in California’s prisons than they were designed to safely hold and spending on prisons has continued to increase. Prison spending is expected to hit an all time high of $13 billion this year. 

The statewide polling, completed in May 2020, shows there is wide support among California voters for continuing to reduce incarceration and prioritizing investments in schools, public health and other key services for communities. According to the polling, voters support releasing people deemed a low risk to public safety by a two-to-one margin, nearly eight in 10 voters support the release of people in prison who are elderly or medically frail, voters support further revisions to the Three Strikes law by a three-to-one margin, and more than seven in 10 voters support the increased use of alternatives to incarceration, especially if the savings from reduced incarceration were to be reallocated to schools, hospitals and other vital programs.   

“It’s clear voters believe a thoughtful reallocation of public safety dollars to better prioritize prevention and healing should be a cornerstone of building safe communities and stopping the cycles of crime,” said Jordan. “By continuing to reduce the state’s prison population we not only will be responding to the urgent crisis of COVID-19 but we will also begin to sustain the resources needed to build a strong and inclusive safety framework for all Californians.”

As Nation Reckons with Racial Injustice, New Ad Urges Corporations, Police Unions to Withdraw November Ballot Initiative That Would Increase Prison Spending and Worsen Racial Disparities

June 23, 2020

Safeway and Ralph’s Have Joined Forces With Some of State’s Largest Police Unions to Bankroll Initiative That Would Increase Incarceration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
June 23, 2020

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

OAKLAND, Calif. – A new radio and online advertisement released this week urges corporations and law enforcement unions to withdraw their support for a November statewide ballot initiative that would cost California as much as $450 million every year by increasing the state’s prison population. The measure would put more people in prison, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color, while taking away resources from programs in these communities. 

The advertisement highlights that the initiative, which is estimated to significantly increase the number of people incarcerated and funnel billions of dollars into law enforcement, is at odds with growing calls across the state and nation to shift dollars away from the criminal justice system and back to local communities.  

“As Americans confront injustice, why are corporations and police unions pushing an initiative to massively increase prison spending?” the ad says. “Tell backers to withdraw the prison spending scam.” 

Proponents have until June 25 to withdraw the measure from the ballot. 

“In recent years, California has proven that you can significantly reduce incarceration and the amount of money we waste on failed prisons, and redirect those hundreds of millions of dollars to strengthen the safety and well being of our communities,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, whose partner organization, ASJ Action Fund, released the ad. “At a time when the state faces a record budget deficit and there’s broad support for the need to reduce spending on prisons and the criminal justice system, an initiative that would reverse California’s progress to send incarceration and prison spending skyrocketing should be a non-starter.” 

The Prison Spending Initiative is being funded by nearly $3 million in campaign contributions from grocers like Albertson’s Safeway and some of the state’s largest police unions, including the Police Officers Research Association of California, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and the Los Angeles Police Protective League. 

The initiative would prohibit people in prison from rehabilitating themselves before release, incarcerate people for the lowest-level offenses, and return people to prison for non-criminal violations of probation. According to a report released last week by the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the initiative would cost taxpayers as much as $457 million annually in increased incarceration costs.    

Budget Deal Puts California on Path Toward Significantly Reducing Investments in Failed Approaches to Safety

June 23, 2020

Roadmap for Closing Two State Prisons, Smart Improvements to State Parole and Protections for Investments in Programs That Support Survivors of Crime Highlight Budget Agreement  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
June 22, 2020

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders today announced an agreement on a 2020-2021 fiscal year budget that aims to shutter two state-owned and operated prisons by 2023 as part of a plan to balance the state budget in the face of a more than $50 billion deficit. 

The budget proposes closing one facility beginning in 2021-2022 and a second facility beginning in 2022-2023, while maintaining a Newsom’s plan to close all private, in-state contract correctional facilities for male inmates in 2020-2021. The budget also outlines a plan for strengthening the state’s parole system by aligning it with evidence-based practices that are proven to promote the success of people coming out of prison. 

Additionally, the budget protects a $23.5 million general fund investment that will ensure the state’s victim compensation fund is solvent and able to continue operating at current levels. The budget also contains more than $100 million in savings from reduced incarceration attributable to Proposition 47, money that will be reallocated back to local communities for crime prevention programs like drug treatment, medical and mental health programs and trauma recovery services to help survivors of crime heal.  “This budget is a step toward answering the demands of Californians and Americans across the country who are calling for a re-imagining of public safety that reduces spending on prisons and failed criminal justice policies, and instead invests in communities,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “In the face of a historic budget deficit, the legislature is to be commended for prioritizing support for survivors for crime and the health and well-being of all our communities. Californians today are more aware than ever that spending more on failed policies that undermine public safety takes dollars away from strategies that actually work to keep Californians safe. In order to get California’s economy back on track, we must invest in the necessities, things like hospitals, schools, housing, trauma recovery centers, reentry support and jobs, not prisons. And we must also continue to pursue smart strategies to further reduce incarceration so we can close prisons, save money and increase investments in communities.”

California Assembly Approves Bill Strengthening State Parole System by Improving Outcomes, Better Ensuring Success

June 15, 2020

A.B. 2342 Would Prioritize Successful Reintegration Over Enforcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

June 15, 2020

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The state Assembly on Monday passed in a bipartisan vote a bill that would improve parole system outcomes by positioning agents to better focus on ensuring the successful reintegration of people on parole back into the community. 

The bill, A.B. 2342, authored by Asm. Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and sponsored by a broad coalition of organizations including Californians for Safety and Justice, #cut50 and the REFORM Alliance, would reduce recidivism by incentivizing people on parole to earn their way off by completing educational, vocational and rehabilitative programs key to ensuring people are able to become contributing members of their families and communities.  

Other organizations sponsoring the bill include the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Project Rebound, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Root & Rebound, Underground Scholars and the Young Women’s Freedom Center. 

Research shows that public safety is improved when the length of time a person will remain on parole reflects the person’s unique circumstances and conduct, and when the parole system puts more emphasis on rewarding people on parole for their acquisition of critical life skills than punishing people for making minor mistakes. Research has demonstrated that keeping people under state supervision for longer than is necessary can actually increase the likelihood they commit another crime.  

Research also shows that once a person successfully completes the first 180 days of parole supervision, the likelihood of that person reoffending decreases dramatically. 

The following can be attributed to Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice:

“California wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year by needlessly supervising tens of thousands of people who pose little threat to the community and who have demonstrated success by not committing a crime while on parole or violating the terms of their supervision,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “A.B. 2342 will make our justice system smarter and our communities safer by grounding the parole system in the science that shows us what works best to reduce recidivism and break the cycle of crime. The bill will also help ensure our limited resources are focused on the people on parole who are most in need of help connecting to things like treatment, housing and other supports key to ensuring successful reintegration back into the community.”

Justice and Safety Advocates Applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Proposal to Close Two State Prisons in Response to Unprecedented Budget Deficit

May 14, 2020

Governor’s Revised Budget Also Proposes Smart Improvements to State Parole and Protects Investments in Programs That Support Survivors of Crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 14, 2020

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom today proposed shuttering two state prisons by 2023 as part of a plan to balance the state budget in the face of a more than $50 billion deficit. 

The proposal in Newsom’s revised budget builds on the original budget Newsom released in January in which he indicated he would close a state prison in the next five years. The May revision proposes closing one facility beginning in 2021-2022 and a second facility beginning in 2022-2023. It maintains Newsom’s plan to close all private, in-state contract correctional facilities for male inmates in 2020-2021. The governor’s revised budget also outlines a plan for strengthening the state’s parole system by aligning it with evidence-based practices that are proven to promote the success of people coming out of prison. 

The budget protects a $23.5 million general fund investment that will ensure the state’s victim compensation fund is solvent and able to continue operating at current levels. The May revision also contains more than $100 million in savings from reduced incarceration attributable to Proposition 47, money that will be reallocated back to local communities for crime prevention programs like drug treatment, medical and mental health programs. 

“The governor’s revised budget proposal reflects what California voters have known for a long time – that continued wasteful spending on failed prisons is bad for safety and our budgets,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “As state leaders grapple with a historic budget crisis, the choice couldn’t be clearer that investments in helping survivors of crime and supporting the health of communities should be the priority. It’s time for a new normal. Long term investments in failed crime policies that have proven to undermine public safety only serve to siphon public dollars from effective strategies that keep Californians safe and healthy. Hospitals, schools, housing, trauma recovery services, reentry support, and jobs are the things that will help California get back on track, not prisons.”

Crime Survivor Network Supports Public Health Approach to Safety That Reduces Prison Overcrowding to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus

March 31, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 31, 2020

CONTACT:

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, the nation’s largest network of survivors of crime that originated in California, applauded the plan announced on Tuesday by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to release 3,500 people from state prison. The plan seeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 by alleviating crowding in the state prison system. 

Under the plan set to go into effect over the next several weeks, the state will release 3,500 people serving sentences for non-violent offenses and who were already due to be released within the next 60 days.

The following can be attributed to Tinisch Hollins, California state director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice: 

“We support the decision of Gov. Newsom and CDCR to reduce overcrowding in state prisons as the pathway to prioritizing public health, protecting everyone from COVID-19 and advancing public safety. Over-incarceration that crowds out investments in the health of communities is the wrong approach that has continued for too long. We must commit to not only reducing spending on wasteful incarceration-focused approaches, but also increase funding support for the services that actually make communities healthier and safer, now and in the long-term.”

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.