Around 25 activists attended the local Oakland vigil, held at 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland.
The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) coalition and member organizations have begun a series of statewide coordinated actions to end solitary confinement.
The vigils will be held on the 23rd of each month, to symbolize the 23 or more hours every day that people are kept in solitary confinement. The first vigil was held this past Monday, March 23, at locations in Oakland, Arcata, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Vigil organizers said, “The actions will acknowledge the importance of organized, community-based pressure as a core strategy (along with courts and legislators) of our work outside the walls to end solitary confinement.”
For up to date information about the location of the next vigil, go to the PHSS website.
As we near the end of the 2019 Legislative cycle, we are excited that several of our co-sponsored bills have made it through the Legislature and await the Governor’s signature. These bills represent work from many LSPC staff members, All of Us or None organizers and community members, and all of our coalition partners.
Those bills are:
AB 942 (Weber) –CalFresh Meals Program. This bill would extend the ability to use food stamps for hot meals at supermarkets. Passed out of Assembly 72-0 in May, 2019. Passed out of the Senate 78-0 on September 10, 2019. Now awaiting the Governor’s signature. Call Governor Newsom 916.445.2841 and ask him to sign AB 942!
AB 1282 (Kalra) – No private ICE. This bill would prohibit ICE from using private contractors to detain and transfer people from prisons following the completion of their sentences. The bill passed the Assembly 59-15 in May. Amended and passed the Senate 29-10 on September 5. Assembly voted 61-16 concurrence to Senate amendments September 9. Now awaiting the Governor’s signature. Call Governor Newsom 916.445.2841 and ask him to sign AB 1282!
ACA 6 (McCarty) – Restore voting rights to Californians on parole. Our last minute advocacy & calling legislators got ACA 6 passed with just the necessary 54 votes!
SB 136 (Wiener) – Ending Ineffective 1-Year Sentencing Enhancements. By the skin of its teeth, passed the Senate Floor vote 21-11 in May. Amended and just barely passed the Assembly Floor Vote 41-37 on September 11, 2019. The bill eliminates the 1-year mandatory sentencing enhancement for priors except for “sexually violent offense” priors.
SB 144 (Mitchell) – Eliminate Imposition & Collection of Most Court Fees. This bill has become a 2-year bill, as we wait for courts and counties to share with us how eliminating the court fees would fiscally impact them. They have yet to respond, probably because there is no fiscal impact since they often spend more trying to collect from low-income Californians than they bring in. We look forward to continuing the fight to eliminate oppressive court fees again in January!
SB 310 (Skinner) – Jury Service. The bill, which would restore the right of jury service to people with felony convictions, was amended to exclude people currently on parole or on the sex offenders registry. Received a 47-26 vote on the Assembly Floor on September 9, and then a Senate concurrence vote of 29-10 on September 11. Call Governor Newsom 916.445.2841 and ask him to sign SB 310!
Other legislation of interest includes:
AB 32 (Bonta) – Ban CA Private Prison Contracts. Prohibits new or renewal contracts between CDCR and private prison companies, including ICE detention centers. As many current contracts are on 1-year “bridge” contracts, the bill effectively ends private prisons and ICE detention prisons in CA after 2020. People currently incarcerated in ICE detention prisons will probably be transferred to county jails with ICE contracts, until those contracts are also banned.
AB 45 (Stone) – Prison Co-Pays. Ends the co-pays people incarcerated in prison must pay to access medical treatment. Currently people incarcerated in CDCR prisons must pay a $5 co-pay to access medical treatment.
AB 484 (Jones-Sawyer) – Eliminate Mandatory Confinement during Probation. This bill would, for certain drug convictions, give judges granting probation the discretion to impose the current 180-day confinement condition mandatory with current convictions.
AB 1076 (Ting) – Automatic Relief. Will automatically seal arrest/conviction records for certain low-level offenses after diversion program.
ACR 91 (Jones-Sawyer) – Second Chances Month. This measure designates June 2019 as Second Chances Month in California, highlighting existing services and events to support reentry from incarceration.
SB 42 (Skinner) – Getting Home Safe Act. Requires sheriffs to release people from county jails between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M. or at sundown (whichever is later), as well as track the time and number of people released. Will end the practice of releasing people at midnight with no public transportation available.
SB 394 (Skinner) – Diversion for Primary Caregivers of Minor Children. Creates a pretrial diversion program for defendants who are primary caregivers of a child under 18 years of age, as specified, and who are charged with a misdemeanor or a nonserious, nonviolent felony.
SB 575 (Bradford) – Cal Grants for Students Incarcerated in Prison. Will allow students currently incarcerated to be eligible to receive a Cal Grant award.
Thank all of you for your tireless efforts and support for all of our legislation. Stay tuned for updates on our website as well. For more information, contact Policy Fellow Katie Dixon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you outraged by family separation at our Southern border?
Are you aware that family separation is happening right here in the Bay Area?
Did you know that lack of housing is
often the greatest barrier to a mother’s reunification with her child(ren)?
We are asking for the tech industry’s help!
The tech industry has been blamed in large part for the rent
increases and displacement of people seen recently in the Bay Area. While we
cannot minimize the wonderful contributions that technology has given us in the
advancement of our healthcare, science, and educational systems, we know that
modernizing and upgrading efficiencies have not served to help everyone, as
While many applaud and appreciate the innovations of modern
society, we know that our society has failed to keep up with adequate housing
supply to meet the needs of the people. This is why our coalition is looking to change the narrative and engage with this
promising sector to innovate, not eliminate, the most precious relationship on
earth – that between a mother and her children. The first step to protecting
this relationship is housing.
Unbeknownst to many members of the public, women who have
children in the child welfare system are losing their parental rights for
lifebecause in the Bay Area
housing is becoming more of a luxury than a basic human right. Meanwhile, our
court system requires that mothers find and sustain housing before they can
reunify with their children. Due in large part to this requirement, there are
over 28,000 children currently waiting for reunification with their mothers.
Leaving those children to wait is certainly a cruel jest as it is no secret that
the housing their parents are required to obtain does not exist. The extreme
shortage of “low income” housing is well documented with the latest data
revealing that there are only 34 units for every 100 persons in need. This is
cruel and unusual punishment.
Technology and data analysis systems are helping us to
center the voices of the marginalized, build community power, and connect in
ways we’ve never seen before. We owe this progress to the technological
advances and tools made for everyday people, used creatively by organizers and
advocates. It is our hope that technology can help us to overcome this issue of
family separation, and be harnessed to keeping families together instead of
facilitating their separation.
We are building an interdisciplinary team of innovators from various fields including law, technology, social work, community organizing, urban development, and education. This team will reimagine our housing deficit and the various social services that rely on this system to develop local and state advocacy efforts. Please join us for this thought-provoking conversation and to be a part of the solution! We encourage you to attend our “Ain’t I A Mother Too!” symposium being held on May 10th from 6-8pm at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 28, 2019 Contact: Nicholas Reiner, Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) (562) 243-0656 email@example.com
California State Asm. McCarty introduces ACA 6 that would create a 2020 ballot measure to restore the right to vote for Californians on parole
Sacramento, CA – Today the Free the Vote Coalition launched its multi-year campaign to end voter suppression for Californians with criminal records. California Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), and Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) introduced ACA 6, a constitutional amendment which begins the process of restoring the right to vote for Californians on parole. The legislation will create a 2020 ballot measure, giving California voters the opportunity to re-enfranchise their neighbors with convictions.
“It is time to restore the right to vote for individuals who have served their time,” said Asm. McCarty. “ACA 6 will eliminate an arbitrary barrier to voting, reduce recidivism, and give formerly incarcerated people an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to become productive, contributing members of our society.”
ACA 6, co-sponsored also by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, would be the next step in addressing the history of racial oppression behind California’s felony disenfranchisement laws. Today marks the 149th anniversary of California’s rejection of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits voting restrictions based on race.
“The removal of the right to vote is not based in an interest in public safety,” said Taina Vargas-Edmond, Executive Director of Initiate Justice. “Rather, it is rooted in a punitive justice belief system that robs Californians of color of their political power. Three of every four people leaving California prisons are either African American, Latino, or Asian American.”
4.6 million people nationwide are ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction. Currently, nearly 50,000 people on parole throughout California—working, paying taxes, raising families in their communities—are unable to vote in any local, state, or federal elections. California is currently behind fourteen other states and Washington, D.C, which either automatically restore voting rights upon release from prison or have no felony disenfranchisement whatsoever. National momentum is growing to restore voting rights to people with convictions. Governors in New York and Virginia recently used executive power to re-enfranchise certain people who had finished their sentences. Last year, both Florida and Louisiana rolled back their bans on voting for formerly incarcerated people and New Mexico is introducing similar legislation this year.
“Felony disenfranchisement was written into the California Constitution during its inception in 1849,” said Brittany Stonesifer, Voting Rights Attorney at the ACLU of California. “Though the state now allows people to vote if they are in county jail, on probation, or on Post-Release Community Supervision, Californians on parole are still unfairly disenfranchised by our constitution.”
Because the disenfranchisement of Californians on parole is inscribed in the state’s constitution, the restoration of voting rights to otherwise-eligible adults results only from a proposed amendment to the California Constitution. As a potential constitutional amendment, ACA 6 needs a ⅔ majority in both state houses to pass. The introduction of ACA 6 is the first step toward ensuring that Californians on parole can fully participate in our shared democracy and moves us closer to a reality in which all Californians have the right to vote.
“One of the fundamental rights of American citizenship is the right to vote,” said Shaka Senghor, Executive Director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC). “Giving people who are returning home from prison access to civic participation ensures their successful reintegration and makes our democracy stronger.”
About the Free the Vote Coalition
Free the Vote Coalition is made up of ten organizations whose goal is to restore the right to vote for all people impacted by the criminal justice system. In 2019, Free the Vote will advocate for an ACA that will implement a 2020 ballot measure to restore the right to vote for Californians on parole. The partners in sponsoring this bill are Initiate Justice, ACLU of California, All of Us or None / Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), League of Women Voters of California, People Over Profits San Diego, Vote Allies, and White People for Black Lives (WP4BL). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is also a co-sponsor of ACA 6.
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.
OAKLAND, Calif. – Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods will host a press conference Thursday, June 29, to announce a coalition opposing plans to hold all in-custody arraignments at the new Dublin courthouse set to open in July.
The event will be on the historic steps of the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland and Woods will speak along with families of criminal defendants, formerly incarcerated and others concerned that moving arraignments from Oakland to Dublin will result in more people being held in jail while they fight their cases.
The Public Defender’s Office, which represents the majority of criminal defendants, has formed a coalition of local politicians, non-profits and activists to oppose the plan, which recently was announced by Alameda County Presiding Judge Morris Jacobson. The Dublin courthouse, officially known as the East County Hall of Justice, originally was to host only South County arraignments, including those currently at the Hayward and Pleasanton courthouses.
North County arraignments – including Oakland, Berkeley and Albany – currently are held at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland. The Dublin courthouse is approximately 30 miles away and is one mile from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station.
Arraignment is a critical point in a criminal case because that’s when criminal charges are announced and the court sets bail or chooses to release someone on their own recognizance. It must take place at a location that is readily accessible to defendants’ families, who need to attend in person in order to provide essential information to the court, including community ties and employment.
If families are unable to travel the extra 30 miles to Dublin, more defendants will remain in custody for longer periods of time, particularly defendants with the lowest income and the least serious charges.
WHAT: Press conference
WHEN: 12:15-1:15 p.m.Thursday, June 29, 2017 WHERE: East steps of Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St, Oakland
Here is a list of coalition members:
1) American Civil Liberties Union
2) Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff
3) Oakland Vice Mayor and Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington
4) Assembly Member Rob Bonta
5) Assembly Member Tony Thurmond
6) Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan
7) Oakland City Councilmember Abel Guillen
8) Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb
9) Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid
10) Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks
11) Oakland City Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington
12) Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney
LSPC Policy Director Endria Richardson discusses Prop 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) and how it will affect formerly incarcerated people and communities of color in Oakland, especially in terms of policing as well as access to business permits to open dispensaries.
KPFA Report begins: 33:10.
Endria’s segment begins: 37:40
Just days after the successful conclusion of the 1st National Conference of the Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People & Families Movement in Oakland, CA, LSPC Program Manager & FICPFM Leadership Council Member manuel la fontaine has an early-morning conversation with Jan Miyasaki of WORT radio (Madison, WI) and EXPO organizer & National Conference attendee Jerome Dillard.
Underground Scholars hosted the first graduation ceremony for formerly incarcerated people at University of California, Berkeley on May 15, 2016.
LSPC Executive Director & All of Us or None co-founder Dorsey Nunn recognized Underground Scholars role in UC Berkeley’s decision to Ban the Box on employment applications, & spoke to the value of having an intellectual base to the FICPFM Movement.
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