SENATE FLOOR ALERT – Fair Chance Occupational License Bills Head for Floor Vote!

AB 2138 (Chiu and Low) and AB 2293 (Reyes): Fair Chance Licensing Bill Package

California has one of the largest prison, parole, and probation populations in the United States where 8 million people have been impacted by the justice system through prior convictions. Access to family sustaining employment is critical to ensuring stability and success for the many women and men coming home, yet far too many people face enormous and unnecessary barriers, including being denied licensure in many occupations despite previous work experience, qualifications, rehabilitation, and successful completion of workforce training. 

AB 2138 and AB 2293 remove barriers to occupational licensing for many Californians who have already paid their debt to society and have demonstrated rehabilitation. These bills focus on reforming the overly restrictive licensing policies of the Department of Consumer Affairs-DCA (AB 2138), and gathering relevant data to evaluate the licensing policies of the Emergency Medical Services Authority-EMSA (AB 2293) that allow for the denial, revocation, and/or suspension of licenses because of prior arrests and convictions. Even those who gained job-specific training while incarcerated are still barred from working in their occupational field. This includes serving as a fire fighter while incarcerated, yet being denied an emergency medical technician (EMT) license upon release.

This bill package improves access to licensure by doing the following:

  • Prohibits DCA, from denying or revoking a license for the following reasons: a non-serious conviction older than seven years, a dismissed conviction, or a non-conviction act that is not directly related to the qualifications or duties of the profession for which the application is made.
  • Prohibits boards from requiring applicants to self-disclose criminal history information.
  • Requires boards to collect and publish demographic data about the applicants who are denied a license or whose license has been revoked or suspended based on criminal history.

By improving access to good jobs and careers, and ensuring all Californians have the opportunity to contribute and thrive, we can reduce recidivism, promote community safety, and secure a future of shared prosperity.

Call your CA State Senator [find yours here] and say, “We strongly urge your ‘AYE’ vote on AB 2138 and AB 2293!”

BLOCK PARTY! Freedom & Movement Center Grand Opening!

Join us Saturday, September 1 to celebrate our new home & the grand opening of the Freedom & Movement Center in North Oakland!

Free food! Bike Giveaway! Raffle prizes!

We’re so excited to have a new home of our own, and to open up the Freedom & Movement Center—a community center to train and organize formerly incarcerated & convicted people, family members, & allies.

Hope to see you Sept. 1!

For more info, contact AOUON Lead Organizer Dauras Cyprian: / 916.513.8364

April 30: Hundreds of Formerly Incarcerated People, Family Members and Allies to Visit Sacramento for 6th Annual Quest for Democracy Advocacy Day


Participants Will Meet State Legislators and Advocate for Bills that Restore Rights and Reduce Barriers to Employment for Formerly Incarcerated People
Mark Fujiwara, Communications Coordinator: / 925.324.9745
Azadeh Zohrabi, Development Director: / 510.990.2841

On Monday, April 30, around 500 hundred formerly incarcerated people, family members, and allies from all over California will visit the Capitol in Sacramento for a large-scale statewide advocacy day called “Quest for Democracy.” The day will consist of an advocacy training, a rally in the park near the East Steps of the Capitol, and grassroots lobbying teams will meet with staff from most California legislator’s offices.

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and our grassroots organizing project All of Us or None work directly with ally and co-sponsor organizations to advocate for legislation that advances the civil and human rights of people in prison, their loved ones, and the broader community. This work is primarily lead by formerly incarcerated persons and those directly impacted by the criminal justice system, who work tirelessly to develop effective and humane alternatives to incarceration and punishment. For example, in 2017, LSPC and AOUON helped to pass AB 1008, which expanded “Ban the Box” policies to private employers and removed barriers to employment for over 7 million Californians with conviction histories.
Quest for Democracy bridges the gap between policy advocacy and community organizing by training formerly incarcerated people, family members, and allies to fight for their rights, while also providing the opportunity to communicate directly with California State Legislators.

“We are tax-paying Californians before, during, and after any state-imposed sentence,” said Dorsey Nunn, Executive Director of LSPC, “and we demand full access to the machinery of democracy to stay connected to our communities and maintain our humanity.”

Before the grassroots lobbying visits, the participants will join allies for a rally outside the Capitol building featuring speakers from many participating organizations, music, poetry, and dance. Organizers and attendees will promote a slate of bills that would shorten sentences, make police more accountable for their actions, remove barriers to employment, and promote voting rights.

“The voices and expertise of directly-impacted people are what give life to this legislation and Quest for Democracy is a chance to show lawmakers why these issues matter,” said Brittany Stonesifer, LSPC Staff Attorney and Q4D Legislative Committee Lead.
Bringing impacted people and allies from all over the state together creates community and empowers people to speak up at all levels of government.

Sandra Johnson, a survivor of incarceration, Q4D Organizer, and member of All of Us or None: “Quest for Democracy Day helps formerly incarcerated people and our families speak truth, regain dignity, and make California a better, safer place for all of us.”

Bills in the Quest for Democracy platform include:
Employment Rights:
AB 2138, AB 3039, AB 2293—removing barriers to occupational licenses

Economic Justice:
SB 1105—traffic ticket relief for incarcerated & indigent people
AB 2533—expands relief for indigent people in CDCR

Sentencing & Pre-Trial Release:
SB 1392, SB 1393—removing sentencing enhancements
SB 10—money bail reform
SB 1437—abolishes felony murder rule for accomplices

Youth Justice: 
AB 2010—prohibits tear gas at juvenile facilities
AB 2605—3-year ban on law enforcement calls by foster care facilities for behavioral management of youth in non-emergency situations

Probation, Parole, & Restoration of Rights:
SB 1025—allows probation for certain drug convictions
SB 1940—grants time credit and expands travel limitation for accomplishing educational and rehabilitation programs while on parole
AB 2845—creates a Pardon & Commutation Panel to review requests
AB 3115—requires county jails to allow voter education and registration programs

Police & Correctional Officer Accountability:
SB 1421—allows public access to findings and disciplinary records related to use of deadly and serious force by police officers
AB 2550—protections of people incarcerated in women’s prisons

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

Victories from the Inside Out: Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex 


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:

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 / 415-625-7059 

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!


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


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


Prisoners United Hunger Strike Press Conference

Oakland, CA– On Tuesday morning, October 16, 2017 at 10am, Communities United For Restorative Youth Justice with the support of A.L. Costa Development Center and Silicon Valley De-Bug is holding a press conference in solidarity with Prisoners United who began a hunger strike Sunday, October 15th. Community supporters and local media will gather in front of the Board of Supervisors Building in downtown Oakland, 1225 Oak street.

1. End Indefinite Solitary Confinement/Administrative Segregation.
2. End Subjective Grievance Practices.
3. End Abuse of Discretion to Lockdown Unstructured Programming (Time Out of Cell).
4. End Insufficient and Unsanitary Clothing.
5. End Insufficient Food and Starvation for Indigent Prisoners.