June 29, 2017: OUR WEEKLY - Panel OKs five major criminal justice reforms for youth and young adults

June 29, 2017

Measures comprise package by Sens. Lara and Mitchell

The Assembly Public Safety Committee this week approved five criminal and juvenile justice reform bills to improve public safety, keep young people out of the juvenile justice system and end longstanding inequities in California’s juvenile and criminal justice systems.

Sponsored jointly by Los Angeles-area Sens. Ricardo Lara and Holly Mitchell, the measures are their #EquityAndJustice package and will now move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. No hearing date has yet been set.

“State policymakers today took a giant step toward reducing unnecessary, unfair and unjust policies that hurt children, families and taxpayers,” Mitchell said. “Simply put, we need to put an end to the cradle-to-grave prison pipeline.”

Lara agreed:

“California is leading the national movement to bring fairness to our courts and communities,” he said. “It is time to put justice on the right track. If you are not convicted of a crime, you shouldn’t have to be in debt to the court or have the mark on your record when you apply for a job or an apartment. If you are a child you should understand your rights. If you commit a crime, you should have the chance at rehabilitation.”

The #EquityAndJustice measures approved are:

SB 180 – Drug Sentence Enhancements

This dollar-saving reform measure is a modest step toward enacting the bipartisan movement to end wasteful incarceration spending in favor of community reinvestment by amending the code section that doubles or triples the sentence for specified nonviolent drug offenses.

SB 190 – Ending Juvenile Fees

This would eliminate burdensome administrative fees for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their families.

SB 393 – Sealing of Arrest Records

Senate Bill 393 seals arrest records and removes barriers to employment for those arrested but not convicted of a crime and is sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.

SB 394 – Juveniles Life Without the Possibility of Parole

Brings California into compliance with the Montgomery v. Louisiana decision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to Life Without Parole.

SB 395 – Miranda Rights for Youth

This bill would require those under the age of 18 to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in interrogations with police.

The Legislature sent the first bill in the Equity and Justice package, SB 355, to Gov. Brown for consideration on June 22, 2017. This measure provides that only those who are convicted of a crime are required to reimburse the courts for legal counsel fees. He has about two weeks to act on SB 355.

Sen. Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget Committee. A member of the Legislature for more than six years, she represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 30, which includes Culver City and much of Los Angeles. See a map of Mitchell’s district that includes a demographic breakdown of its residents. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/Mitchell Sen. Lara is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and was first elected to the Legislature in 2010. He represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 33, which includes Long Beach and the Southeast Los Angeles cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, and much of Los Angeles. More at www.senate.ca.gov/lara

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