PR: Unlawful Removal of CA Voters with Conviction Records

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALL OF US OR NONE PUTS TEN CALIFORNIA COUNTIES ON NOTICE OVER UNLAWFUL REMOVAL OF PEOPLE WITH FELONY CONVICTIONS FROM ELECTORAL ROLLS
 

CONTACT:

Mark Fujiwara
All of Us or None Bay Area /
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
415-625-7056
mc@prisonerswithchildren.org
Christin Runkle
All of Us or None Los Angeles / Long Beach / 
A New Way of Life
323-406-6904
christin@anewwayoflife.org

San Francisco, CA. (April 4, 2018) — All of Us or None (AOUON), a California-based national grassroots organization fighting for the rights of formerly and currently incarcerated people, sent demand letters today to ten California county registrar’s offices and local courts believed to be unlawfully triggering the removal of people with conviction histories from electoral rolls — with estimated over 3,000 eligible voters being removed in 2017 in Los Angeles County alone.

AOUON has found evidence that these government agencies — which span ten counties, including Butte, Contra Costa, Kings, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara, Solano, Tulare, Ventura and Orange — have been violating recent legislation that preserves voting rights for people convicted of a felony under AB 109 Public Safety Realignment. The demand letters ask that the agencies immediately reinstate these voters’ registrations, send notices to alert the voters to the error, and fix their systems to ensure that such violations do not happen again. 

“We’re a national organization of formerly incarcerated individuals with a history of fighting for and winning the voting rights of people with convictions, and we are prepared to take necessary action to correct unlawful practices that violate our right to vote.” says Lisa James, AOUON-Los Angeles/Long Beach organizer.
 

Voting after Realignment has a confusing history, but the law is now clear

In 2011, a major California criminal justice reform — commonly known as “Realignment” — changed the law to require that people with non-serious, non-violent, or non-sexual felonies are sentenced to county jail or probation, instead of state prison. Since the California Constitution disenfranchises only those who are “imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony,” the voting eligibility of those serving felony sentences in county jail under Realignment was unclear for several years.

Following a successful legal battle brought by AOUON and other community allies against the Secretary of State, the State Legislature ultimately passed AB 2466 to clarify that Californians who are convicted of county Realignment felonies retain their right to vote.

As of January 1, 2017, state elections law requires local courts to provide to the county registrar a monthly list of people “committed to state prison.” The registrar is then required to cancel the registrations of people currently in prison or on parole. Despite the fact that voting rights under Realignment have now been clarified in law,

“The government’s ongoing confusion about the law leads to the continuing disenfranchisement of the very population historically subject to de facto disenfranchisement — from the Fifteenth Amendment to Jim Crow,” James says.
 

Educational efforts and voter outreach are critical

The last day to register to vote in the California primary election is May 21. For people who are currently in county jail, the deadline to request mail-in ballots is May 29. Even if registrar’s offices in these ten counties re-enroll voters quickly, outreach efforts are crucial to ensuring that people with Realignment convictions know that they can, in fact, vote.

AOUON is asking these registrar’s offices to engage in public education on the right to vote with a felony, but it will also continue its own outreach efforts. During the last two presidential general elections, AOUON-Los Angeles/Long Beach has done voter registration drives in Los Angeles County jails that have yielded more than 1,700 registrations in total. 

“As we restore voting rights to people incarcerated in jails, we need to establish a process to ensure everyone inside knows their rights and has timely access to registration forms and ballots before elections,” says Dorsey Nunn, co-founder of All of Us or None and executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children in San Francisco. “We also need formerly incarcerated people to be able to go into jails to do some of this voter  outreach — we have the unique experience to know that voting instills a sense of ownership in both ourselves and our communities.”
 

 

About All of Us or None

All of Us or None is a grassroots civil and human rights organization fighting for the rights of formerly and currently incarcerated people and our families. We are fighting against the discrimination that people face every day because of arrest or conviction history. The goal of All of Us or None is to strengthen the voices of people most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the prison-industrial complex. All of Us or None is a project of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, with the SoCal chapters sponsored by A New Way of Life Reentry Project.

Live Tim Wise Podcast Event with Dorsey & Taina – Support Quest for Democracy – Oakland Event!

Victories from the Inside Out: Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex 

TainaDorseyTimWise

When: Tuesday, April 10 — 7-9 P.M. 
Where: First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA.

JOIN US for a live taping of the nationally-distributed podcast Speak Out with Tim Wise, featuring Dorsey Nunn, Executive Director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), and Taina Vargas-Edmond, founder and Executive Director of Initiate Justice, in conversation with author and educator Tim Wise.   

The conversation will focus on recent criminal justice reform and civil rights victories—such as the passing of Ban the Box policies and Prop 57—as well as current campaigns, including the Voting Restoration and Democracy Act and this year’s Quest for Democracy Advocacy Day

Tickets: $5-25, sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds. 

For tickets and accessibility information, please click here.

Check out the video of last year’s engaging conversation with Dorsey and Tim
 


Can’t wait until next week? Join LSPC / All of Us or None for our first First Friday in Oakland!

When: Friday, April 6 — 5-9 P.M.
Where: Telegraph Ave, from W. Grand to 27th, Oakland, CA.

AOUON Fist - Gold on Black - English Spanish - 300x300All of Us or None will be tabling at FirstFriday in Oakland! Come on down to talk with us about our social justice campaigns to Ban the Box, restore voting rights, and end mass incarceration.

We’ll have All of Us or None shirts, hoodies, and hats on hand for people who want to represent and support formerly incarcerated people and family members.

You’ll also have the opportunity to join AOUON, a grassroots organizing project that organizes and empowers formerly incarcerated and convicted people and our families at the local, state, and national level.

See you on the streets!! 
 


While you’re here, sign up for:

QUEST FOR DEMOCRACY Advocacy Day—
When WE Speak Directly to Legislators & Policy Makers!

When: Monday, April 30 — 9 A.M. – 4 P.M.
Where: California State Capitol, Sacramento, CA.

Big Group Photo - Q4D 2016 0 croppedEvery Spring, LSPC and All of Us or None organize a large-scale statewide lobby day in Sacramento for formerly-incarcerated people, our family members, and allied community leaders and activists. We gather to show our support for pending legislation that affects people that are impacted by incarceration, and to assert ourselves as leaders, experts, and contributing members of our communities.

We are asking that all organizations, particularly with members who have been previously incarcerated, to join us on April 30, 2017. Monday morning will feature a training workshop on our sponsored bills and on effective legislative advocacy, then Action Teams will visit each legislator’s office to advocate in person, followed by a rally on the Capitol steps.

Please still RSPV here so we can provide you with lunch!

If you have any questions, please contact Sandra Johnson:sandraj@prisonerswithchildren.org / 415-625-7059 

Press Release: LSPC Joins DPA Delegation to Study Portugal’s Humane Drug Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 13, 2018

LSPC Joins Drug Policy Alliance Partners in Portugal to Study Effective, Humane Drug Decriminalization and Treatment Policy

CONTACT:
Mark Fujiwara 415-625-7056
mc@prisonerswithchildren.org
Dorsey Nunn 415-625-7052
dorsey@prisonerswithchildren.org

San Francisco, CA – Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) Executive Director and All of Us or None co-founder Dorsey Nunn will join Drug Policy Alliance members and partners in Lisbon, Portugal on March 19-22, 2018, to observe first-hand the European country’s successful drug harm-reduction and decriminalization programs.

In response to a heroin epidemic in the 1990’s, Portugal decriminalized personal possession of all drugs and began treating drug possession and use as a health issue—employing counseling and methadone instead of judge, courtroom, and jail. As a result, drug cases have dropped 75%, HIV transmission via intravenous drug use is the lowest in Europe, overdoses are the second lowest in Europe, and the drug-induced death rate is 5 times lower than the European Union average.

During the same time period, the U.S. has doubled down on criminalization and incarceration, spending billions of dollars on a failed “War on Drugs” that has put hundreds of thousands of people—mainly of color—behind bars. In addition to incarceration, they are also shackled with a conviction history that triggers collateral consequences for the rest of their lives. There is also a real casualty cost—2016 saw more Americans dying of overdoses than were killed in the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq Wars combined.

As a Drug Policy Alliance partner, LPSC works to end the criminalization of drug possession and use, and to restore the civil and human rights of people with conviction histories. Most recently, in 2017, LSPC co-sponsored and helped pass SB 180 (The RISE Act), which eliminated mandatory 3-year enhancement sentences for certain prior drug convictions. In addition to his legislative work and grassroots advocacy, Dorsey Nunn is also the co-founder of Free At Last, an organization in Palo Alto, CA that offers community recovery and rehabilitation services.

Meeting with the top Portuguese national health officials who crafted their innovative and human policy, as well as with the social and health workers who implement it, LSPC and other Drug Alliance Policy partners will gain greater understanding about how to more effectively shift U.S. policy and practice from carceral to caring for our communities. As a legal services and legislative policy non-profit led and staffed by formerly-incarcerated people and family members, LSPC is in a unique position to advocate for best drug policy practices at the local, state, and national levels.

Find more info on the DPA delegation and Portugal’s decriminalization policy here.

Court Hearing in Ashker v. Governor of California

12 P.M. / 1 P.M.
Friday, February 23, 2018
450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102

Or watch here on Facebook Live on Friday!

Please join LSPC, CCR, and partners in court for oral argument in Ashker v. Governor of California, a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners held in solitary confinement in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison and throughout the state.

Ashker settled in 2015, and in the years since settlement, the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel have been monitoring the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) as it ends longterm indeterminate solitary confinement. In the course of that monitoring, CCR developed evidence that many class members have been released to “general population” units where have been forced to spend as much or more time locked in their cells as when they were in solitary, with little to no rehabilitative or educational programming. 

On February 23, CCR cooperating counsel Jules Lobel will be arguing a motion challenging these SHU-like general population units as a violation of the settlement agreement.

A rally preceding the hearing will start at 12:00 P.M. PST outside the courthouse, and will conclude at 12:40 to allow time to enter the building. The hearing will begin at 1 P.M.

Please arrive early to clear through security. ID is required to enter the courthouse.

ACTION ALERT: Restore the right to serve on a jury to Californians with felony convictions!

TODAY THROUGH MONDAY (1/29) MORNING!!!

Tell your Assemblymember to vote yes on AB 535!

Currently, California law allows people with felony convictions to vote and to become attorneys, yet it permanently bans people with even one felony from serving on a jury. The right to serve on a jury is an important badge of citizenship – one that California currently denies to about 4 million people. Because of racial inequality in the criminal legal system, current law ensures that people of color in particular will have less access to the jury box and systematically prevents us from having juries that fairly and accurately reflect the makeup of our communities.

AB 535 would automatically restore the right to serve on a jury in California to people with felony convictions, once they are finished with parole or Post Release Community Supervision. The bill needs to pass out of the Assembly by next week to survive the 2018 legislative cycle.

Please call these target Assemblymembers from NOW UNTIL MONDAY MORNING (1/29) and tell them to VOTE YES ON AB 535! If you live in one of the districts below, be sure to mention when you call that you are a constituent of the member and you support jury service for people with convictions!

  • Assemblymember Burke; (916) 319-2062 ; District 62 (Western and Southern LA)
  • Assemblymember Cooley;(916) 319-2008; District 08 (Eastern Sacramento)
  • Assemblymember Daly; (916) 319-2069; District 69 (Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana)
  • Assemblymember Garcia; (916) 319-2056 ; District 56 (Imperial County and Coachella Valley)
  • Assemblymember Grayson; (916) 319-2014; District 14 (Parts of Contra Costa and Solano Counties)
  • Assemblymember Low; (916) 319-2028; District 28 (Western Santa Clara County)
  • Assemblymember Medina; (916) 319-2061; District 61 (Riverside County)
  • Assemblymember Rodriguez; (916) 319-2052; District 52 (Pomona, Chino, Montclair, Ontario)
  • Assemblymember Rubio; (916) 319-2048; District 48 (Eastern San Gabriel Valley)

Thank you for your support!!!

WEBINAR: Best Practices for Providing Legal Services and Legal Education in Prisons and Jails

Thu, November 2, 12pm – 1pm

REGISTER HERE: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8766533037505003777

Attorneys from Bay Area Legal Aid, Harriett Buhai Center on Family Law, Root and Rebound, and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children will share best practices and creative strategies for providing legal information and services to incarcerated people. Presenters will share experiences from their work providing family law classes, wide-breadth re-entry legal information, and individual representation in SSI/SSDI applications to show the many types of legal-aid related needs incarcerated people have and some of the different strategies organizations can use to meet those needs. Panelists will discuss lessons learned in working with jail administrators, county employees, and the unique challenges and benefits of the jail setting to best connect with, represent, and teach incarcerated clients and participants.

1 hour of general CLE.

Presenter: Eva DeLair, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Rachel Hoerger, Bay Area Legal Aid
Emily Juneau, Root & Rebound
Holly Leonard, Harriett Buhai Center For Family Law

REGISTER HERE: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8766533037505003777