ARC Criminal Justice Reforms Signed Into Law

We are thrilled to inform you that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a series of bills that will create a more just system, improve public safety, and bring hope to thousands of incarcerated men, women and their loved ones across California.

ARC co-sponsored four of these measures (SB 1391, SB 1437, SB 439, and AB 2138), working alongside tireless advocates throughout the state to educate legislators about the importance of these justice reforms. While walking the halls of the State Capitol to advocate for these measures, ARC members showed again what is possible when you provide hope and invest in human life. We know these living examples of rehabilitation and redemption had great impact on California legislators and Governor Brown.

“The Equity and Justice bills signed by Gov. Brown make rehabilitation and community recovery the focus of our criminal justice system,” said Senator Ricardo Lara, who coauthored SB 1391 and SB 439. “Thirty years of harsh sentencing laws resulted in overcrowded prisons without improving public safety. We need to be tough but smart on crime. With these laws, California is reducing mass incarceration through research-based reforms that will contribute to public safety.”

Below are the specific bills:

  • SB 1391 will prohibit 14 & 15 year-olds from being tried in adult court or being sent to adult prison, ensuring that every youth has access to the rehabilitative services the juvenile system can provide. Click here to read Governor Brown’s resonant message on his signing of SB 1391.
  • SB 1437 ends California’s felony murder rule that holds accomplices to the same standard as those who actually committed the crime.
  • SB 439 establishes a minimum age for juvenile court prosecution at age 12, reducing the early criminalization of children. It also ensures alternative pathways to services for children whose behavior is indicative of unmet need.
  • AB 2138 prohibits the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) from denying or revoking a license for the following reasons: a non-serious conviction older than seven years, a dismissed conviction, or a non-conviction act that is not directly related to the qualifications or duties of the profession for which the application is made.

These bills build upon our previous advocacy work in providing second chances to people in the system and further lay groundwork for hope and redemption for those who were young adults when they entered the system.

This is a special time for justice reform work in California. We are enthusiastic about the ways in which opportunities for redemption are manifesting throughout California’ prison system. The enactment of these bills cements California’s position at the forefront of this reform work nationwide.

While helping to fight for the dignity of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, we are continuously inspired by the magnitude of your support. Whether through volunteering your time, your generosity, providing your expertise, or serving as mentors to our members, you let us know each day that you are deeply committed to healing families throughout the state.

We look forward to your continued support as we work to strengthen our communities in California and around the country.

In hope and redemption,

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition