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To Seal or Not To Seal – California Taking a Progressive Approach to Sealing Juvenile Records

CJCJ's Gabrielle Marchand analyzes recent legislation for California's justice-involved youth, which provides them with a clean slate and ample opportunities for future success

A Survey of Key Juvenile Justice Legislation for California

Public safety issues are especially challenging given the state’s ongoing prison overcrowding crisis and the ever-evolving juvenile justice system. Yet, 2014 already brings some exceptional juvenile justice legislation that is worthy of recognition and support.

Two Roadmaps for Reform

California’s 2014 legislative session has started and policymakers are considering ways to develop comprehensive public safety policy. Recent reports by the Legislative Analysts Office and Little Hoover Commission provide a necessary roadmap for the state.

CJCJ Statement on Governor Brown’s FY 14-15 Budget Proposal

On Thursday, January 9, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed FY 2014-15 Budget for California. CJCJ applauds the Governor’s willingness to adopt some of the systemic changes necessary for not only meeting the court-ordered prison population cap, but also improving public safety outcomes for all Californians. Yet, we are concerned by a failure to support long-term systemic reforms for improving our criminal justice system and the near absence of juvenile justice policy in his budget. 

California Set to Begin Policymaking in 2014

This month California’s policymakers will return to Sacramento and begin addressing some of the state’s pressing justice issues. The public and stakeholders alike should use these different venues to advocate for a more balanced justice system that focuses on alternatives to incarceration and produce positive safety outcomes.

OP-ED: A New Year and New Opportunity for Policy Reform in California

CJCJ's Policy Analyst, Brian Goldstein, discusses California's public policy priorities in 2014.

California to Decide on $500 Million Jail Construction

On December 4-5, 2013, representatives from 36 counties came to Sacramento and made their case to receive jail construction funding available through Assembly Bill (AB) 1022With this legislation, California will allocate $500 million in revenue lease bonds for counties to construct adult criminal justice facilities. 

Justice-Involved Californians Deserve a Second Chance at Success

Applying for a job is tough, particularly in this challenging economic climate. For those Californians with a criminal history, the obstacles for getting employment often appear insurmountable.

California Assembly Holds Hearing on Building Safe and Successful Schools

On Wednesday, June 12th, the California State Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color brought together policymakers, grassroots advocates, youth, educators, and concerned parents to offer their perspectives on school safety and education needs for youth of color. The hearing elevated voices, which need to be raised more often in Sacramento and across the state. 

Legislative update: proposed California criminal justice policy, June 2013

The California state legislature just completed a pivotal phase in the legislative process. CJCJ reviews key criminal justice policies currently under consideration.

Reform cuts marijuana possession arrests 86% in 2011, upends California drug policing
Just-released 2011 arrest statistics from the state Criminal Justice Statistics Center show that pioneering legislation downgrading simple marijuana possession from a criminal offense into an infraction--an effort to deter passage of Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana outright--has detonated a revolution in California drug-law enforcement. California's new arrest figures read like something out of a drug policy reformer's dream--but with unexpected twists (see table).…
Washington's and Colorado's marijuana legalization schemes are no model for California
Though widely celebrated by progressive drug-policy reform groups, Colorado's Amendment 64 and Washington state's Initiative 502 approved by voters "to regulate marijuana like alcohol" represent discriminatory approaches Californians should not emulate. In fact, California 's current marijuana regulation design under SB 1449 is better than offered by Colorado or Washington .   In particular, Washington's marijuana legalization framework is flawed, containing several provisions that…
Legalized pot and easing of 'three strikes' law mark unique election
The voters have spoken.  Not only did they re-elect Barack Obama but in two states -- Colorado and Washington  -- possession of small quantities of marijuana was legalized. A clear message to the federal government to back off.   At the same time California voters  sent another message: the current "strike 3 and you're out" law is way too harsh.   The measures I-502 in Washington and Amendment 64 in Colorado was the culmination of about a half century of efforts to bring some sanity to…
Election Day: Criminal justice reform on the ballot
Election Day has arrived and California has 3 ballot initiatives that directly impact our state criminal justice system.  Prop 34: Support California voters reinstated the death penalty in 1978, following the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia, which ruled the practice cruel and unusual.  Since 1978, the state has sentenced roughly 900 persons with a death sentence, but only 13 were subsequently executed.  The state presently has a death row population of 724 .  The death…
No on Prop. 35: The wrong tool for a good cause
Proposition 35, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act (CASE) aims to address the increasing prevalence and public concern regarding human trafficking in California, specifically as it relates to the sexual exploitation of children.  It proposes to do this by greatly increasing the existing sentences and penalties for trafficking offenses, and expands sex offender registration laws, including new mandates to report email addresses and internet usernames. Prop. 35 would also broaden…
CJCJ supports SB 1180: Pretrial release on own recognizance
Yesterday, the California Senate Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 to pass Senate Bill 1180 (Hancock) for a floor vote.  This bill is a significant piece of legislation that will have a significant impact on the high rates of un-sentenced individuals held in county jails.  If the bill continues to proceed in the legislative arc and is signed by the Governor, California counties would have enhanced incentives to utilize best practice risk-assessment tools for determining whether an accused…
CA Assembly hears arguments for juvenile justice realignment
On Wednesday March 28th, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety heard testimony on Governor Brown's proposal to close California's remaining youth correctional facilities.  The Legislative Analyst's Office, Department of Finance, and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation presented preliminary testimony, while CJCJ, the Ella Baker Center, Chief Probation Officers of California, and Los Angeles District Attorney's Office provided additional testimony in a second…
How "realignment" will change criminal justice in California
How "realignment" will change criminal justice in California KALW News, September 6, 2011
Listen to CJCJ's Newest Broadcast: Marijuana Legalization in CA
CJCJ has just released a broadcast on marijuana legalization in California, as part of our newest component to our public education efforts.  Our broadcasts provide quick and easy access to key information on pressing criminal and juvenile justice matters, in an understandable and easy to relate fashion. Listen to staff Ashley Afferino interview CJCJ Program Director and SF Reentry Commissioner Gerald Miller on the topic of
CJCJ Supports SB 399
Senate Bill 399 is the California Fair Sentencing for Youth Act introduced by Senator Leland Yee. Current laws allow youth as young as 14 to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP).  The United States and Somalia are the only countries that allow children under the age of 18 to serve this harsh sentence; a sentence that provides no chance of rehabilitation and is a one-way ticket to death inside prison walls.  SB 399 allows youths sentenced to LWOP the chance to contest…
CJCJ Opposes AB 2141
Congratulations to Patti Lee and Jeff Adachi of the San Francisco Public Defender's Office for their tireless effort in defeating AB 2141. Patti Lee served as the lead opposition by organizing CJCJ, Youth Law Center, and the Commonwealth Juvenile Justice Program along with the Public Defenders' Offices from 5 counties, including San Francisco and Alameda to back her in this fight against the bill. Without Patti Lee and Jeff Adachi's opposition and perseverance in defeating this bill, more youth…
Making War on the Drug War
Making War on the Drug War California Progress Report, November 4, 2009
Historic Hearing on Marijuana Legalization in the California Legislature
Historic Hearing on Marijuana Legalization in the California Legislature Drug War Chronicle, October 30, 2009
Youth Prison Model Sets High Bar
Youth Prison Model Sets High Bar Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2009
Prop. 5 would fund innovative treatment for drug offenders

Prop. 5 would fund innovative treatment for drug offenders AlterNet, October 25, 2008 and San Francisco Chronicle, October 10, 2008

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Explore how California’s 58 counties send their residents to correctional institutions with interactive maps, charts, and downloadable data.

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