Allen Feaster is one of the founding members of Families for Books Not Bars, a statewide network of families of youth incarcerated in California’s youth prisons. Allen’s eighteen-year old son Durrell died inside the Preston Youth Correctional Facility, and Allen turned the pain and...

 

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 instead of funding community-based services that keep our communities healthy. 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 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.

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.

Get Involved: Help us reform severe sentence enhancements? Do you know anyone impacted by either the one-year enhancement for prison priors or the five-year enhancement for prior serious convictions? Please reach out to Emily Harris via email at emily@ellabakercenter.org; via mail at 1970 Broadway St., Suite 1125, Oakland, CA 94612; or via phone at 510-285-8231.

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is proud to be cosponsoring SB 1392 and 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

In December 2017, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights released our community safety plan for Oakland, Public Safety Begins with Public Health: Making Oakland Safer Together

Our plan recognizes the choices that have led to less safe and healthy communities, and identifies ways that the city can implement public health solutions to public health problems that focus on health, wellbeing, and prevention instead of criminalization. 

Our vision for our city is simple: An Oakland where all communities are thriving economically and socially, where people work and live in clean, safe neighborhoods free from crime, where all are able to provide security for their families, and where children can look to a future with greater opportunity.

By prioritizing positive, community-based, public health solutions rather than punishment, we can chart a new future for Oakland.

The Ella Baker Center Community Safety Plan for Oakland identifies current gaps and inefficiencies in adequately addressing public health issues, and offers recommendations for a new way forward:

  • Use community-based support systems for mental health concerns. 
  • Adopt a public-health-centered approach to substance use disorders. 
  • Develop accessible and affordable housing. 
  • Prevent sex trafficking in Oakland without criminalizing victims. 
  • Resolve disciplinary challenges in schools without criminalizing youth.
  • Implement community safety solutions that incorporate restorative justice practices. 

Read our full community safety plan for Oakland and let us know on social media what you think would make Oakland safer with the hashtag #SafetyIsPublicHealth.

Contact our Senior Organizer and Advocate Angelo Sandoval for more information: angelo@ellabakercenter.org. 

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