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Healing Justice wins in California

Governor Newsom signs SB 136 and AB 965!

California Capitol
Photo: / AFSC

SB 136 (Weiner) repeals a mandatory one-year sentence enhancement that is added to an individual’s base sentence for each prior prison or jail sentence. Sentence enhancements exacerbate existing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, perpetuate mass incarceration, waste critical resources such as funding for community-centered programs, and make it more difficult for people to re-enter society after incarceration. AFSC's Healing Justice Program has lobbied in support of the bill with various legislators at the Capitol in collaboration with other coalition partners. This is a great victory! 

AB 965 (Stone) allows incarcerated people who were under the age of 26 when they were incarcerated to benefit from educational programs and good behavior credit to earn the opportunity to move their parole hearing date sooner. 

In November 2016, California voters approved Prop 57, which allowed incarcerated people the opportunity to reduce their sentence by earning credits for good behavior and participating in educational and skill developing programs.

These credit-earning opportunities have allowed many people the opportunity to advance their release date, but these credits are not applied in the way the voters intended. AB 965 allows people to earn credits and time-off their youth offender parole date, helping to reduce the prison population.

Initially, this bill was written to include elder parole, a process of releasing elder prisoners sooner. After unfortunate amendments, elder parole was removed from the bill but moving forward we hope to advocate against such amendments. The Healing Justice Program has lobbied in support of the bill with various legislators at the Capitol. This is another great victory, and we hope to see it impact on the prison population in the upcoming years. 

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