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Issue Background

Criminal Justice Reform

We support efforts to reduce mass incarceration, reduce recidivism and wrongful conviction. We oppose solitary confinement and the death penalty. We support efforts to promote restorative justice.

Quakers have a long tradition of prison reform both in England and in the United States.  For centuries, Friends have opposed capital punishment and worked for its abolition. They have championed restorative justice instead of retribution.

Following in this tradition, FCLCA has developed a strong reputation at the Capitol for our expertise in criminal justice legislation.

We work with our partners to advocate with legislators and their staffs to promote responsible reform, closely monitoring bills introduced to the Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees.

FCLCA weighs in on dozens of bills each session and frequently testifies at committee hearings.

FCLCA is advocating for important criminal justice bills in 2022, including

AB 256 - The California Racial Justice for All Act, making AB 2542 (which prohibits the state from seeking or obtaining a criminal conviction, or from imposing a sentence, based on race, ethnicity, or national origin) retroactive.

SB 300 - The Sentencing Reform Act of 2021 -will return to judges the discretion to dismiss a special circumstance allegation if the judge determines that a sentence of 25 years-to-life is more appropriate and better serves the interest of justice.

FCLCA is co-sponsoring a criminal justice sentencing reform bill AB 2167 (Kalra) Alternatives to Incarceration.  The proposed change to the Penal Code is straightforward but profound :

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the disposition of any criminal case use the least restrictive means possible.

(b) The court presiding over a criminal matter shall consider alternatives to incarceration, including, without limitation, collaborative justice court programs, diversion, restorative justice, and probation.

The basis of this bill is the recommendation that the Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code made it its 2021 Annual Report – read more here.

FCLCA is also advocating for AB 937, the VISION Act, to limit the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabiliation’s cooperation with ICE, and SB 836, which prohibits disclosure of immigration status in criminal/civil cases unless the judge first determines its relevance to the case.