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$30 Million Public-Private Partnership Launched to Support Returning Citizens, as California Urgently Reduces Prison Populations to Curb Impact of COVID-19

August 27, 2020

Philanthropies and nonprofits partner with the State of California and Governor Gavin Newsom to provide much-needed reentry services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 27, 2020 CONTACT: Robin Rettmer, Amity Foundation, rrettmer@amityfdn.org SACRAMENTO, Calif. –

Today, as COVID-19 spreads through prisons and jails, philanthropies and nonprofits joined the State of California and Governor Gavin Newsom to announce “Returning Home Well”, a new public-private partnership that provides essential services — like housing, health care, treatment, transportation, direct assistance, and employment support — for Californians returning home from prison after July 1, 2020.

These are individuals that have either met their natural release date or are being released on an expedited timeline due to COVID-19. The State announced an initial commitment of $15 million, which will be matched by philanthropic contributions for a total goal of $30 million.

“In these unprecedented times, we are committed to providing essential services to those who are returning home to their families and communities,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “It is imperative to our public health and public safety, and it is a testament to the generosity of spirit that runs so deep across our state, that so many of our California-based philanthropies and nonprofit partners are stepping up to help provide these critical supports.”

“We applaud Governor Newsom for investing in this long-needed infrastructure to help keep people and families safe during and after the pandemic,” said Jay Jordan, Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “Supporting reentry services for people coming home is a well-researched and proven model for reducing recidivism and helping people achieve success in their journey home.”

In recent months, COVID-19 cases have risen dramatically among California’s prison population. As in other confined spaces, risk of infection — among those incarcerated and prison staff — is extremely high. In response, the State of California has taken important, life-saving steps to expedite the release of over 5,000 individuals who were already on track to go home, all with less than a year left to serve.

However, those returning are often left without essential services that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and its economic fallout. This new public-private partnership between several state departments, philanthropy, and frontline reentry services providers ensures that people have the support they need for a safe, healthy, and successful reintegration. “We’re proud to support a public-private partnership that asserts the need for justice reform with a racial equity lens”, said Dr. Robert K. Ross, MD, President and CEO of The California Endowment.

“We must strive for a justice system that focuses on health care and support services as the first options, instead of on the approach of incarceration which has failed so many. Our California communities need and deserve to thrive in a healthy environment free from trauma.” “People impacted by the justice system are profoundly and disproportionately at risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19-related illnesses,” added Dr. Priscilla Chan, Co-Founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

“We not only need to reduce our prison population, we also need to provide significant and ongoing support to returning citizens so they, their families, and communities can stay safe and thrive over the long-term.” Recently, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation projected that a large percentage of individuals set to come home will have the need for housing assistance and coordination of post-release services.

Rates of homelessness among regular releases have risen from a low of 13 percent last August to 15.5 percent in August 2020, and formerly incarcerated people are almost 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public.

This makes the need for reentry support in the pandemic environment even more critical. “CDCR understands how vitally important it is to expand reentry programs for the incarcerated population returning to their communities,” CDCR Director of Division of Rehabilitative Programs Brant Choate said. “Ensuring formerly incarcerated persons have the housing and tools they need to focus on living a better life when they get out are key to successful community transition, good public safety, and ultimately help save taxpayer dollars.”

Across California, hundreds of community-based organizations — like A New Way of Life, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Center for Employment Opportunities, Homeboy Industries, HealthRIGHT 360, WestCare California, and more — are working tirelessly to provide assistance across California. With a $15 million commitment from Governor Newsom and funding from private philanthropy, resources are going to organizations providing transportation home from prison, quarantine housing, emergency supportive housing, residential treatment, access to health care, employment services, direct assistance, and more.

Amity Foundation is serving as the hub for housing and services delivered by a network of frontline organizations across the state. “Over the last four months, we have seen the impact that safe housing, job training, and other reentry services can have for returning citizens,” said Sam Schaeffer, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Employment Opportunities. “Despite the retracting economy, we’ve seen people thrive when given real, meaningful support.

That’s what this partnership is about — giving people a strong foundation to stand on coming out of one of the most challenging periods of their lives.” Over $26 million of the $30 million goal has been committed and services are already being provided to returning citizens.

Foundations and individual donors aligning funding for this effort include the Meadow Fund, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Rosenberg Foundation, The California Endowment, Heising-Simons Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Art for Justice Fund, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The California Wellness Foundation, Ford Foundation, Agnes Gund, and Kaitlyn & Mike Krieger.

“This moment requires bold leadership, and we thank Governor Newsom and our partners in philanthropy for joining together to support returning citizens in reclaiming their lives,” said Tim Silard, President of the Rosenberg Foundation.

“Reentry supports are proven and critical to helping people reintegrate back into our communities.” “Expediting release is necessary, but so is ensuring that services are available in a way that supports those returning home to achieve successful outcomes,” said Doug Bond, CEO of the Amity Foundation. “Supporting this type of service is an essential piece of a much broader, long-term public health and social progress solution.”

Sen. Durazo for Introduces Bill to Provide Housing Protections that Ensure Safety of All Violent Crime Victims 

February 24, 2020

Sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, nationally groundbreaking bill would enable survivors to relocate without penalty 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Feb. 21, 2020

CONTACT:
Tien Tran, Senator Durazo Senate Fellow, (916)651-4024; tien.tran@sen.ca.gov

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Last week, Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) on Thursday introduced legislation that would help ensure the safety and security of all survivors of violent crime by enabling them to relocate without penalty. 

The bill, SB 1190 (Durazo), would enable all victims of violent crimes and their families to terminate a lease without penalty within 180 days of the crime having occurred. The measure is sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a national network of over 40,000 crime survivors whose local chapters and members make up California’s largest statewide group of crime victims. 

“We should protect the rights of tenants, especially tenants experiencing the most vulnerable of circumstances,” said Durazo. “SB 1190 would extend relocation benefits to all victims and household members of violent crimes. Fundamental to recovery for these households is finding a stable, safe home.” 

Currently, California law ensures that victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking and  elder or dependent adult abuse and their families can terminate a lease without penalty following the occurrence of the crime. But victims of other violent crimes are not afforded the same protection. 

If signed into law SB 1190 would extend relocation protections to all victims of violent crime and their families and would expand existing forms of acceptable documentation to verify the crime, such as a police report, restraining order, medical or mental health care provider report and certain caseworker reports. 

SB 1190 would also ensure that landlords do not discriminate against tenants by refusing to rent to tenants for having broken a lease subject to their rights in the past. 

After a violent crime, victims and their families face significant challenges to maintaining a stable, safe home and in many circumstances need to quickly relocate. A crime may have occurred inside or near the home, for example, and staying in the victims’ home may increase risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and expose victims to further violence. Not allowing survivors to break a lease without penalty can force them to endure financial and housing insecurity. 

If a crime victim is forced to break their lease, it can lead to legal action against them, affect their credit score, jeopardize the return of their security deposit, and also result in an early termination fee.

“Doing whatever we can to protect survivors of violent crime is key to ensuring the health and security of families and entire communities,” said Tinisch Hollins, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Preventing survivors from being re-victimized by making sure they have housing stability in the wake of traumatic tragedy is a key piece of a comprehensive approach to community safety and Sen. Durazo should be commended for exercising leadership on behalf of survivors and the safety of all of our neighborhoods.”  

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Californians for Safety and Justice Hails Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget for Making Investments into Safety

January 10, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 10, 2020

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Californians for Safety and Justice commended Gov. Gavin Newsom for releasing a proposed budget that contains investments in proven public safety strategies and a clear roadmap for shuttering a state prison, while investing unprecedented resources to safeguard the state’s program to support crime victims’ recovery and continue critical improvements to California’s probation system.

The budget also includes a record $122.5 million in Proposition 47 savings – an increase of $44 million from last year’s savings due primarily to the state’s reduced reliance on private prisons. Each year, the money saved as a result of reduced incarceration from Proposition 47, passed overwhelmingly by state voters in 2014, is returned to local communities to fund treatment and mental health programs, truancy prevention programs and trauma recovery services that help survivors of crime heal from their trauma.

INVESTING IN PROBATION SUCCESS

The governor’s budget includes an investment of more than $200 million over the next four years aimed at reducing the recidivism of people on local probation. The budget also includes reforms to reduce felony and misdemeanor probation terms to two years, and allow for earned discharge for probationers, which is aligned research showing that the maximum time needed to engage people on probation in behavior change and reduce the likelihood of reoffending is no more than two years. The governor’s proposal is a smart investment that improves public safety and saves taxpayer money. It also builds upon the successes of county probation departments in recent years to reduce prison and jail populations by expanding practices proven to reduce recidivism, enhance the success of people exiting probation and increase the stability of communities.

California is safer when our public safety systems focus on what works best to reduce recidivism and make communities healthier and safer,” said Lenore Anderson, president of Californians for Safety and Justice. “When probation system resources are tailored to incentivize success and meet individual underlying needs, we can better ensure the cycles of crime and incarceration stop. Under the governor’s proposal, people will move forward to get jobs and contribute to their families and communities.”

CLOSING A STATE PRISON

The governor’s proposed budget anticipates the state prison population will continue to decline by about 4,300 prisoners between 2021 and 2024 which would allow California to close a state-operated prison in the next five years.

“Over-incarceration and wasteful prison spending undermine public safety,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “The status quo of unchecked multi-billion dollar prison spending contributes to high recidivism rates and the destabilizing of communities, failing to stop cycles of crime. We applaud the governor’s leadership to advance a proposal that is a smart step forward for California and public safety.”

PROVIDING HISTORIC SUPPORT FOR CRIME VICTIMS

The governor’s budget proposal also commits funding to ensure the health of the state’s victim compensation fund that provides essential support for survivors of crime. The proposal would make California one of a handful of states in the nation to commit general fund dollars to its victim compensation fund. The governor’s budget provides necessary support to the crime victim support program without relying on increased fines and fees imposed on Californians by courts and the justice system.

“California’s victims’ compensation fund is crucial for enabling survivors of crime to recover from trauma and the other negative consequences associated with crime and violence,” said Tinisch Hollins, California state director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Gov. Newsom deserves credit for boldly standing with survivors and demonstrating national leadership to ensure those most impacted by crime can access the help they need.”

Californians for Safety and Justice also commends Gov. Newsom for including in his budget proposal commitments to reviewing records in statewide criminal justice databases to identify people eligible to have old convictions expunged and having those expungements happen automatically, as well as bolstering the capacity and role of the public defender. The governor’s proposal also includes a significant commitment to the rehabilitation of state prisoners, including bringing back a third day of visitation, expanding classroom technology for education programming within CDCR, and expanding the youth offender program at Valley State Prison.

 

BACKGROUND ON PROBATION

●      Probation is a form of community supervision to effectively hold people accountable for their rehabilitation without the use of incarceration.

o   Its goal is to prevent crime, reduce recidivism, and promote safe and healthy communities.

o   It is a connector between state and local government, the courts, education and the community, prioritizing a balance of services and supervision to address people’s underlying challenges so they successfully exit the justice system for good.

●      There are 10 times more people sentenced to probation annually than are incarcerated, but it receives just a fraction of state public safety resources.

●      Over the past several years, California’s probation system has progressed to significantly reduce the percentage of people cycling in and out of the justice system.  Legislation like SB 678 have dramatically reduced the number of people sent back to state prison for a technical violation of their supervision.

●      The governor’s budget adheres to scientific research and field perspectives that show most of what probation can accomplish can happen within a two-year supervision term, in most cases.

●      Successful probation programs incentivize behavior change by allowing people to earn an earlier exit from the program by successfully completing job training, treatment and educational programming.

●      Research also shows that the level of supervision should be individually tailored and based entirely on the risk that person poses and the support they would need to change their behavior, rather than simply based on the crime for which the person was convicted.

o   The governor’s budget would expand and support the services that probation can use to successfully address each individual’s needs, frontloading them for maximum impact toward increasing stability and reducing recidivism.

o   The number of people placed on misdemeanor or court probation continues to grow but that system has not utilized the best practices of the rest of the probation system, something the governor’s budget proposes to fix by aligning best practices.

▪       This would address some of the chronic repeat misdemeanor offending.

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.”

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.”

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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