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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.”

 

Californians for Safety and Justice Announces Appointment of New Executive Director

April 4, 2019

Long-time justice reform advocate Jay Jordan promoted to organization’s expanding leadership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 4, 2019

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

OAKLAND, CA – Californians for Safety and Justice, the state’s leading criminal justice reform organization, announced today an expansion of leadership, naming Jay Jordan as its new Executive Director.

Jordan, 34, succeeds Lenore Anderson, Californians for Safety and Justice’s founding Executive Director, who will remain as the organization’s President. Robert Rooks, previously the Associate Director of Californians for Safety and Justice will assume the role of Vice President.

“We are thrilled to promote Jay into this key leadership position for our growing organization,” said Lenore Anderson, President of Californians for Safety and Justice and Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Jay is a remarkable leader with an extensive track record of success. We look forward to his leadership continuing to help California create the safe and healthy communities we all desire and deserve.”    

Jordan is an accomplished leader, who has worked at the intersection of community development, organizing, and social justice. He has received over 30 awards for his work in local communities, partnering with government leaders and organizations to prevent violence and support youth. For the past three years, he has served as the director of Californians for Safety and Justice’s Second Chances Project and Time Done campaign. He launched the organization’s Time Done campaign to remove the legal barriers people living with a past conviction face long after completing the terms of their conviction.  

“Jay Jordan is a galvanizing force and there is no one better to lead Californians for Safety and Justice into its next chapter,” said Robert Rooks, Vice President of Californians for Safety and Justice and Alliance for Safety and Justice. “He is a leader and strategist with an energy to inspire and motivate that is unparalleled.”

Prior to joining the Californians for Safety and Justice staff, Jordan worked at LA Voice PICO, where he was instrumental in recruiting and training churches in the South Los Angeles area. He also co-founded Faith in Action, a group of crime survivors in the Westmont area of Los Angeles working to transform their community by employing an asset-based community development strategy.

A native of Stockton, California, Jordan is the son of a pastor from the South and an engineer from Watts and is the youngest child in a family of eight. He created his own non-profit that focused on teen leadership and civic engagement, which drew upon his own experiences. 10 months after his 18th birthday, Jordan was convicted and sent to state prison where he served eight years. That experience resulted in a lifetime commitment to dedicate his life to community restoration upon release.

After his release, he immediately met with Police Chief Eric Jones, now-Mayor Michael Tubbs, and late community activist Willie Douglas. This led to him doing youth mentorship and community clean-up programs in his hometown of Stockton. Jordan launched an innovative youth organizing program, The First50, with the help of local public officials, community members and law enforcement. In its first 18 months, the program saw a 100 percent high school graduation rate and college enrollment.

Jordan’s 30 recognitions for his community work include honors as the American Red Cross’ Hero of the Year in 2014, recipient of the Literacy Foundations’ Innovative Library Concept Award, and Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Youth Program.

“It is an incredible honor to be asked to lead an organization that has helped change lives and make a difference in communities across the state,” said Jordan. “I am humbled to take on this responsibility and follow such extraordinary leaders. I made a decision nearly 15 years ago to devote my life to underserved communities most impacted by crime, poverty and incarceration. I look forward to building upon the successes Californians for Safety and Justice has achieved in advancing a proactive vision for safe and healthy communities.”

The appointment is part of the organization developing and growing its leadership, particularly as it expands. Anderson and Rooks launched a national organization, Alliance for Safety and Justice, in 2016 to work on justice reform in other states. It replicates the pioneering work that was successful in California and is responsive to state differences. Anderson and Rooks are president and vice president, respectively, of Alliance for Safety and Justice and lead its expanding body of work. The innovative work to advance safety and justice in California will continue under Jordan’s day-to-day leadership and their strategic guidance.

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Bill Automating Record Reduction Under Proposition 47 Approved by Assembly Public Safety Committee

March 26, 2019

Cost, Bureaucratic Hurdles Preventing Over One Million Californians From Reducing Low-Level Felonies to Misdemeanors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 26, 2019

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday passed a bill that would help achieve the will of California voters by automatically changing old low-level felony convictions that were reclassified to misdemeanors under voter-approved Proposition 47.

Assembly Bill 972, authored by Asm. Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice, would utilize technology to help the California Department of Justice automatically identify each conviction eligible for reduction on the records of people in the state. Once confirmed as eligible, those convictions would then be automatically changed, enabling more than a million Californians to get out from underneath the nearly 5,000 legal restrictions the state places on people with a past conviction. These restrictions block people from jobs, housing, educational opportunities and other key path to regaining stability.

Jay Jordan, director the #TimeDone campaign for Californians for Safety and Justice: “We applaud Assemblyman Bonta and his colleagues for advancing this important reform for California. We need to break down the barriers to stability facing more than eight million Californians – an astounding one in five state residents – who are living with an old conviction or record. The majority of these legal restrictions serve no safety purpose and destabilize families and communities, actually undermining public safety and the economy. People who are eligible for a record change under Prop. 47 should not have to navigate a costly and wasteful maze of bureaucratic hurdles to get relief. When we allow people to earn redemption, we invest in making our state healthier and safer for all.”

Currently, if someone wants to a record change under Proposition 47, they must follow an arduous, bureaucratic application process that requires appearing in court in the jurisdiction where the conviction was received, and oftentimes necessitates hiring a lawyer. AB 972 would ease this bureaucratic maze for California residents.

Approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2014, Proposition 47 changed the penalty for petty theft and simple drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, a move that has already saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars through reduced incarceration that are being reinvested in community-based crime prevention programs. Proposition 47 also applied the change retroactively, meaning people with felony convictions for petty theft or possession of drugs for personal use could have those convictions reduced to misdemeanors.

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