FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 26, 2018
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:
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Azadeh Zohrabi, Development Director:
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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:
AB 2138, AB 3039, AB 2293—removing barriers to occupational licenses
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
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