The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act
We are currently advancing our landmark criminal justice reform bill, The People’s Fair Sentencing & Public Safety Act, to the 2020 ballot in California. We are currently fundraising and signing up volunteers to collect more than 623,000 signatures from registered California voters. Once passed, our new law will allow for fair resentencing of nonviolent “three strikers” and release thousands of nonviolent Californians back to their families and homes. It will also save the state more than $100 million annually which will be invested in youth programs, education, and rehabilitation.
Status: In Progress
Assembly Bill 32 will prohibit the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from entering into or renewing contracts with private, for-profit prisons beginning January 1, 2020. Additionally, all state prison inmates would need to be moved out of existing private, for-profit prison facilities no later than January 1, 2028. Unite the People is currently gathering signatures, phone banking, and pushing the California Public Safety Committee to advance the bill. Sign up to volunteer today.
Status: In Public Safety Committee
Assembly Bill 45 would eliminate medical and dental co-payments for people inside of California prisons and jails.
Currently, people in California prisons are charged a $5 co-payment when they initiate medical or dental services. The average wage for people in prisons is just $0.08 an hour—meaning medical and dental visits can cost more than an entire week’s pay.
The high cost of healthcare in prisons discourages many people from seeking care until it is an emergency. This barrier to healthcare jeopardizes not just the health of the imprisoned, but also the health of prison staff and the public, as sick people who avoid doctors are more likely to suffer from more severe illness and increased infection rates. Sign up to volunteer.
Status: In Public Safety Committee
Senate Bill 1437 amends California’s felony murder rule, a centuries-old legal doctrine that has held people automatically liable for first-degree murder if a death occurs during the commission of a crime, even if an individual did not intend for a killing to occur or aid the killing in any way. Unite the People joined Restore: Justice for this campaign and generated hundreds of phone calls and thousands of emails and handwritten letters to the California Legislature and Governor Brown in support of SB1437.
Assembly Bill 2138 gives Californians with criminal records the ability to attain occupational licenses for occupations from which they were previously barred. Covered occupations range from automotive repair to psychology to cosmetology. Previously, former inmates were denied licenses—even for jobs they are qualified to perform—due to old or irrelevant criminal records. In some cases, people were denied licenses for jobs they have performed successfully for years in the past without incident—or were trained to do while incarcerated—simply because of a conviction for a minor offense. Unite the People joined a diverse coalition of organizations including East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), Root & Rebound, All of Us or None, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, the National Association of Social Workers, and many more to pass the bill.
California Prop 57
Proposition 57 was an initiated California ballot proposition, approved on the November 8, 2016 ballot. The Proposition allows parole consideration for nonviolent felons, changes policies on juvenile prosecution, and authorizes sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, and education. Previously, prisoners were often required to serve extra time by a sentence enhancement, such as those for repeated offenders. In addition, Prop 57 requires the Department of Corrections to develop uniform parole credits, which reward prisoners' good behavior with reduced sentences.