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August 8, 2017
Landmark Lawsuit Settled, Paves Way for Fair Treatment of Low-Income California Drivers
Solano County adopts model policies that lessen the burden of traffic fines and fees
A settlement was reached today in the first lawsuit in California to challenge the suspension of driver’s licenses as a means of collecting unpaid traffic fines. The lawsuit was originally filed on June 15, 2016 against Solano County Superior Court, challenging the court’s practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who could not afford the astronomical price of traffic tickets.
June 27, 2017
Advocates Commend Governor for Remedy to Address California Modern Day Debtor’s Prisons
California will no longer suspend low-income motorists’ licenses because they can’t afford to pay minor traffic tickets.
Governor Brown approved the state’s $183.2 billion budget, which included funding to end the harmful and ineffective practice of suspending someone’s driver’s license because they can’t afford to pay a minor traffic ticket. Advocates applauded the move, citing the disparate impact license suspensions have on low-income people of color.
March 28, 2017
As Amnesty Program Ends, It’s Time to Create a Permanent Remedy for Low-Income Californians in Traffic Court
Traffic Court Amnesty ends Friday, March 31, 2017, leaving courts to return to individual practices of imposing fees and setting payment well beyond what people can afford. Fortunately, several bills are making their way through the California Legislature that would address many of these traffic court injustices. SB 185, authored by Senator Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, would overhaul the court debt and license suspension system for indigent traffic defendants, and AB 412, authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting, San Francisco, would stop courts from imposing $300 civil assessments (an extra penalty fine) on people who can’t afford to pay tickets in traffic court. Similarly, Governor Brown’s budget proposal calls for an end to license suspensions for people who fail to pay for traffic infractions.
September 5, 2016
LSPC / All of Us or None Announces Two 2017 Policy Fellowships for Formerly Incarcerated People
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children is pleased to announce its pilot Formerly Incarcerated Persons Policy Fellowship. Two formerly incarcerated people will be selected and vetted this fall to continue our work of building the leadership of directly impacted people to challenge the laws, policies and practices that lead to the incarceration, dehumanization and disenfranchisement of millions of black and brown men and women.
August 1, 2016
LSPC Joins Statewide Coalition to Demand DMV Protections for Low-Income Drivers
Today a statewide group, including LSPC, sent a demand letter to the DMV itself. Broadening our advocacy to fight the harm of unjust license suspensions throughout the state, the group explained that the DMV is illegally suspending licenses by not requiring courts to confirm that failures to pay or appear in traffic court were “willful.” The lack of procedural protections on both sides of the license suspension system – the court and the DMV – has resulted in the unjust suspension of hundreds of thousands of licenses of low-income people, disproportionately people of color.
June 15, 2016
CA Legal Orgs Bring First-of-its-kind Lawsuit Challenging Harmful Driver’s License Suspension Policies
A lawsuit was filed today against Solano County Superior Court, challenging the court’s practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who are too poor to pay exorbitant traffic fines. In 2015, over 11,000 driver’s licenses were suspended in Solano County for failure to pay alone. In California, millions of people do not have valid driver’s licenses because they cannot afford to pay traffic fines and fees. This is the first lawsuit in California to challenge the suspension of driver’s licenses as a means of collecting unpaid traffic fines.
May 27, 2016
Lawsuit filed against Shasta County Jail for ADA violations, retaliations
With LSPC as plaintiff, Disability Rights Legal Center, Keker & Van Nest LLP, and Atabek & Associates, P.C. filed a major class action lawsuit against Shasta County Jail (Redding, CA), alleging non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal and state laws. In addition, disabled detainees regularly face retribution–denied medication, served tainted food, etc.–for attempting to file grievance or even to discuss the abuse with an attorney.
May 2, 2016
Legal victory for people with disabilities at Santa Rita Jail
Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), and Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC), and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) today announced a comprehensive settlement agreement to improve accessibility for people with disabilities who are incarcerated at or visiting Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, CA.
April 26, 2016
LSPC executive director Dorsey Nunn named White House Champion of Change
One of ten individuals across the US selected for their work on expanding reentry opportunities, Dorsey Nunn received a Champion of Change award for his Ban the Box work with All Of Us Or None, and his prominent role in the formerly incarcerated peoples movement. Click here for a PDF of the press release.
September 18, 2015
Formerly Incarcerated Leaders Host Historic Regional Convening
Historic conference features panels with formerly incarcerated leaders sharing their expertise, and a Peace and Justice Summit bringing elected officials, non-profit directors and and federal government workers to hear testimony on solutions from the formerly incarcerated movement
September 1, 2015
Landmark Agreement Ends Indefinite Long-Term Solitary Confinement in California
Settlement reached in California class action suit moves out of SHU those there 10 years or longer, Ends solitary confinement purely due to gang validation
August 4, 2015
Voting Rights Restored to 60,000 Formerly Incarcerated Californians
Today, with Secretary of State Padilla’s withdrawal of the challenge of his predecessor to the voting rights of people on mandatory supervision and post-release community supervision, formerly incarcerated people and their allies celebrate an important milestone in their ongoing struggle for voting rights.
July 31, 2015
Prisoner Advocates Applaud Obama for Restoring Pell Grants for Prisoners
After almost 20 years of advocacy by formerly incarcerated people, including national delegations of formerly incarcerated leaders to both the White House and the US Justice Department, the Obama administration is expected to announce today that people currently incarcerated in state and federal prisons will regain eligibility for Pell Grants to pursue advanced degrees while incarcerated.
April 10, 2015
More than One Bad Apple – Why We Need an Executive Order to Ban the Box
Apple, Inc. recently reversed their policy on a blanket ban against construction workers with recent conviction histories on their new site. However, LSPC urges a larger remedy that will address the underlying structural discrimination by large corporations towards formerly incarcerated workers across the US – an executive order to Ban the Box for private contractors doing business with the federal government.
April 8, 2015
Not Just a Ferguson Problem – How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California
Over four million Californians do not have valid driver’s licenses because they cannot afford to pay traffic fines and fees. These suspensions make it harder for people to get and keep jobs, further impeding their ability to pay their debt. Ultimately they keep people in long cycles of poverty that are difficult, if not impossible to overcome. This report highlights the growing trend of license suspensions, how the problem happens, the impact on families and communities, and what can and should be done about it.
Produced by Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, A New Way of Life, East Bay Community Law Center, and Western Center on Law & Poverty.