Keep Families Together - Reform Severe Sentence Enhancements



Enhanced sentencing laws, which automatically add years to the sentences of people with prior convictions, have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to keep people locked up for too long. Help us fight to instead fund community-based services that keep our communities healthy by taking a step towards ending the waste through the passage of SB 1393. The Ella Baker Center is a proud co-sponsor of two bills in the #EquityandJustice package (authored by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell and Sen. Ricardo Lara) that seek major justice reforms for juveniles and adults.

The Fair and Just Sentencing Reform Act of 2018 (SB 1393) restores the court’s discretion, in the interest of justice, to strike a five-year sentence enhancement for each prior serious felony conviction on a person’s record, when a person is currently convicted of a serious felony.

To learn more about the bill check out this LA Times Editorial: Fixing some of California's tough-on-crime mistakes of the past.

Here are three things you can do to help pass SB 1393:

  1. Submit a letter of support for SB 1393 - Please email a copy of your letter to: Romarilyn Ralston, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Sample support letter.
  2. Organize an in-district visit to help us pressure our Assembly targets. We have a few friends helping to organize in our key districts. Please contact them to have people in your network plug in:
  3. Do you know anyone impacted by the five-year enhancement for prior serious convictions? Please reach out to Emily Harris via email at; via mail at 1970 Broadway St., Suite 1125, Oakland, CA 94612; or via phone at 510-285-8231.

The RISE Act 2018 (SB 1392) repeals the one-year sentence enhancement for prior felony convictions. The enhancement is applied consecutively — adding an additional year of incarceration for each prior prison term or qualifying county jail term. We are very disappointed to report that this bill failed to pass the Senate Floor (Ayes: 18, Noes: 16). [Add long term plan - we have a 5-year legislative term to pass this.]

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is proud to be cosponsoring SB 1393 with American Civil Liberties Union of California, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Drug Policy Alliance, The Friends Committee on Legislation California, Pillars of the Community, Tides Advocacy, The Women's Foundation of California - Women's Policy Institute, and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners