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California Interrupts the Cycle of Incarceration with Primary Caregiver Pretrial Diversion Act

Eye for Ebony | Unplash.com

Eye for Ebony | Unplash.com

Each legislative cycle, CJCJ closely monitors state legislation relating to California’s juvenile and  criminal justice systems. This year, CJCJ has chosen to strongly support the Primary Caregiver Pretrial Diversion Act, Senate Bill (SB) 394, among other important pieces of legislation.

SB 394, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner, would create a pretrial diversion program for defendants who are the primary caregivers of a child, and who have been charged with a misdemeanor or a non-serious, nonviolent felony. The diversion program would provide parents with an opportunity to participate in a range of rehabilitative services rather than subject them, and their families, to the long-term harm of incarceration. 

When custodial parents are incarcerated, their children are exposed to the trauma of separation and household instability, which leaves them more susceptible to childhood homelessness, mental health and behavioral problems, and economic hardships. Additionally, formerly incarcerated individuals returning home face countless financial repercussions that make it difficult to support themselves, let alone their child. One of the many ways we can interrupt this cycle of incarceration is by investing in diversion programs for primary caregivers of children.

CJCJ’s Cameo House is particularly aware of the complex impacts of incarceration on families. Cameo House is a long-term transitional and alternative sentencing program for homeless women and their children. Cameo House has even been an option for women who qualified for pretrial diversion. The program offers a variety of services and on-site case management for program participants. SB 394 is directly in line with Cameo House’s work and CJCJ’s overall mission to reduce incarceration and enhance community safety and wellness.

In addition to co-sponsorship by #cut50, SB 394’s supporters include CJCJ, Children’s Defense Fund-California, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Initiate Justice, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Young Women’s Freedom Center, and many other organizations.

SB 394 is now headed to the Assembly Floor for its last vote before heading to the Governor's desk for the final signature needed to become law. 

Please join us in helping SB 394 pass its final hearing in the state legislature:

Make a phone call to your Assemblymember:

"Hello, my name is [NAME] from [CITY OR ORGANIZATION]. I'm calling to ask for the Assemblymember's support for SB 394, which will help to keep families together by allowing courts to send custodial parents to diversion programs instead of prison for low-level crimes. We need to support our families and communities by promoting common sense diversion programs. Please register my support for this important bill."

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The Primary Caregiver Pretrial Diversion Act helps keep families together and interrupts the cycle of incarceration. SB 394 just needs to clear one more floor vote before being sent to the Governor's desk. Learn how you can help today!

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The Primary Caregiver Pretrial Diversion Act helps keep families together and interrupts the cycle of incarceration in #California. Join CJCJ in supporting #SB394. Learn how you can help today!


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