In this Newsletter you can find recently passed laws and pending criminal justice legislation that we are watching.We have also included calls to action for you to plug into to become more involved. We hope this is helpful for your advocacy interest, and for others in your community who could benefit from this newsletter. 

You can support our Inside Mentor Thanh Tran’s Freedom Fund, and help us boost:! Read about his recent homecoming here.

Implementation and New Paths to Freedom

Several bills have gone into effect on January 1, 2022 that have opened up new paths to freedom or have led to other relevant changes! Please write to us if you would like more detailed resources on a specific bill, or if you have feedback on how these changes are being implemented in your facility.

PC 1170.03 Resentencing:  The bill AB 1540 (Ting) addressed implementation issues of PC section 1170(d)(1), now known as PC section 1170.03. Our “Back to Court” resentencing toolkit, which was last updated in December 2020, is currently being updated to reflect this and other changes. Please keep an eye out for our updated version which we will share with this list when it is ready in June 2022. If you would like us to add your loved one to our list to get a copy please email us at

SB 483 (Allen) Repeal Ineffective Sentence Enhancements (RISE) Act authorizes courts to retroactively remove 1-year prison prior and 3-year drug prior enhancements from the sentences of currently or formerly incarcerated people, including those with “final sentences”. People who have served their base term and are currently only serving these enhancements should have been notified of this by March 1, 2022 and must be resentenced by October 1, 2022; all others must be notified by July 1, 2022 and resentenced by December 31, 2023. If you have not yet been contacted or wish to expedite, you can file a petition for writ of habeas corpus to request a resentencing hearing. 

AB 292 (Stone) Access to Programming Act reduces barriers to programming, like interruptions due to transfers, quarantines, lockdowns and conflicting work assignments. It encourages more programming available to all incarcerated people, regardless of security level or length of sentence, and ensures adequate alternatives to in-person programming.

SB 775 (Becker) Expansion of SB 1437 Limit on Felony Murder allows people to petition for resentencing (or challenge on direct appeal) if they were convicted of aiding and abetting attempted murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, or in some cases, if they were charged with murder but convicted of manslaughter.

AB 333 (Kamlager) STEP Forward Act limits gang enhancements by narrowing the scope of what is considered a “criminal gang” and what are defined as “criminal gang activities.” It does not automatically apply to currently incarcerated people with “final sentences,” but may be used to reduce your sentence if you get back to court for resentencing through another avenue.

2022 Legislation Co-Sponsored by the Ella Baker Center

AB 256 (Kalra) – the Racial Justice Act for All – extends California’s new civil rights protections against racism in the courtroom to everyone previously harmed by racist discrimination in court. AB 256 is a continuation of the victory won in 2020’s Racial Justice Act – AB 2542 (Kalra) Ch 317, 2020 – that explicitly prohibits the state from discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin to seek or obtain a conviction or sentence. AB 256 will allow the RJA’s protections to apply retroactively, beginning with anyone currently incarcerated who is convicted of a felony and for people facing deportation. Then, AB 256 will also allow formerly incarcerated people with felony convictions dating back up to 10 years to file an RJA motion for relief. After, AB 256 will apply to any felony conviction ever. 

SB 300 (Cortese) Sentencing Reform Act of 2021 would reform California’s unjust “felony murder special circumstances” law to ensure that the death penalty or Life Without Parole (LWOP) would not be imposed on those who did not kill a person, or who as an accomplice did not intend that a person die. It will also restore the judge’s discretion to strike a “special circumstances” enhancement. Unfortunately, the bill was amended to remove the section that provided for resentencing of persons currently in prison with a LWOP or death sentence. Currently, SB 300 has passed out of the Senate and will be heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on June 1st.

Other Bills to Watch in 2022

AB 503 (Stone) End “Endless Probation” for CA Youth will create guidelines to limit the time youth spend on probation and ensure that the probation conditions are developmentally appropriate. It would also remove the authority of a county board of supervisors to impose restitution fees on youth. 

AB 717 (Stone) Expanding the California Identification Program would provide all people released from the custody of CDCR the chance to receive legal photo identification (a driver’s license or Cal ID card) before their reentry into society, if they wish to obtain identification. 

AB 937 (Carrillo) VISION Act will prohibit any state or local agency from arresting or facilitating an arrest or transfer to ICE detention centers. It would also end CDCR’s mandate to implement procedures to identify all undocumented incarcerated people in their custody and restricts local and state governments from sharing immigrant status information. 

AB 960 (Ting) Expand Medical Parole would create a medical parole panel at each institution, composed of a department psychologist, primary care provider, and representative from California Correctional Health Care Services, to make medical parole decisions. The bill would expand qualifying criteria for medical parole, establish a new medical parole process, and remove CDCR’s authority to return an individual to custody if they are no longer eligible for medical parole.

AB 1608 (Gipson) Consolidation of County Offices would take away the authority of a county board of supervisors to combine the duties of the sheriff with the duties of the coroner.

AB 1720 (Holden) Criminal Background Checks would no longer require people to self-report their conviction history on California Department of Social Services applications. It would implement a simplified criminal record exemption process to increase the speed of application processing for applicants with minor and old criminal convictions.

AB 1816 (Bryan, Kalra) Reentry Housing & Workforce Development would require the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to establish the Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program, which would create a program for community organizations to apply for grants to fund housing assistance and services for recently incarcerated people. 

AB 1924 (Gipson) Certificates of Rehabilitation would allow someone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony to file a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon without the requirements of 1) the dismissal of the accusatory pleading and 2) that they not be incarcerated since the dismissal of the accusatory pleading. Unfortunately, this bill does not apply to people convicted of a registrable sex offense.

AB 2167 (Kalra) Alternatives to Incarceration would require a court to consider alternatives to incarceration, such as collaborative justice court programs, diversion, restorative justice, and probation, and to use the least restrictive disposition possible for any criminal case.

AB 2195 (Jones-Sawyer) Charging of Crimes as a Public Nuisance would allow for defendants for certain drug offenses to accept a plea agreement for committing a public nuisance in exchange for the dismissal of certain drug charges.

AB 2632 (Holden) The California Mandela Act on Solitary Confinement would ban solitary confinement for vulnerable populations including disabled people, pregnant women, youth, and the elderly. It would also limit time spent in solitary and implement other regulations for solitary.

AB 2761 (McCarty) Deaths While in Law Enforcement Custody would require a certificate of death to reflect if someone died through the use of force by a peace officer or in law enforcement custody. It would also require the reporting of this information online within 10 days.

SB 467 (Wiener) Writ of Habeas Corpus for Questionable Expert Testimony would allow someone to petition for a writ of habeas corpus if there was expert testimony introduced in their case which, after the trial, was subject to a dispute regarding the validity of the science upon which the expert based their opinion. It would also expand the definition of false evidence to include expert opinions that were undermined by scientific research that existed at the time of testimony.

SB 731 (Durazo) Criminal Records Relief would expand conviction record relief to people convicted of a felony on or after January 1, 2005, automatically sealing conviction and arrest records once they have completed their sentence and successfully gone four years without another conviction. Records of arrests that didn’t result in a conviction would also be automatically sealed.

SB 875 (Skinner) Fair Parole Act addresses discrimination in the parole hearing process. It creates guidelines prohibiting the BPH from considering discriminatory factors to find someone unsuitable for parole, including race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, cultural or religious affiliation, and cognitive, speech, or physical impairment. This bill was pulled at the request of the author on April 26, 2022. It will not be voted on during the 2022 legislative cycle.

SB 990 (Hueso) Transfer for Students on Parole would allow people on parole the option to transfer from prison directly to the county where a post-secondary educational or vocational training program opportunity is located rather than to the county of their last legal residence.

SB 1106 (Wiener) Restitution would prevent an unfulfilled order of restitution from being the grounds for denying a petition for expungement relief, release on parole to another state, or a petition to reduce a conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor or a misdemeanor to an infraction.

SB 1008 (Becker) Keep Families Connected Act would make all communication services, including phone calls, video calls, and electronic messaging, from all county jails, juvenile halls, and state prisons in California free of charge.

SB 1304 (Kamlager) Prisons Release Allowance would raise payments to those being released from prison from $200 to $2,589, and require this to be adjusted annually for inflation.

ACA 3 (Kamlager) Involuntary Solitude will amend the California Constitution to remove the conditional language that states slavery and involuntary servitude is prohibited “except to punish crime.” This would thereby abolish slavery and involuntary servitude without exception.

SB 17 (Pan) Office of Racial Equity would establish, until January 1, 2029, an Office of Racial Equity in state government, an independent public entity not affiliated with an agency or department, governed by a Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council.

SB 1139 (Kamlager) Prison Visitation would make emergency phone calls available to an incarcerated person and specified people outside of CDCR when the incarcerated person has been hospitalized for a serious medical reason, or when their family member has become critically ill or died. It would also make emergency in-person visits and video calls available when an incarcerated person is hospitalized.

SB 1178 (Bradford) would amend Proposition 47 to remove the November 4, 2022 deadline for filing a petition to reduce a sentence from a felony to a misdemeanor if Proposition 47 had been in effect at the time of conviction and would have reduced their sentence.

SB 1209 (Eggman, Min) Veteran Resentencing would allow trauma, substance abuse, or mental health problems that resulted from a defendant’s time in the military to be considered as a mitigating factor in resentencing for people who were sentenced after January 1, 2015. Unfortunately, it excludes those convicted of certain violent or registrable sex offenses.

EBC Opposition

These are some of the bills that EBC is working with our allies to track and oppose in the legislature.

AB 1599 (Kiley, Gallagher, Peterson) seeks to  repeal all provisions except those relating to cannabis of ballot measure Proposition 47 (“The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act”). It would increase penalties for a variety of offenses related to theft. It would also reduce the value threshold for embezzlement of an elder or dependent adult and for grand theft to be punishable as felonies from $950 to $400. If passed, this bill would be placed on the California ballot for voter approval.

AB 1597 (Waldron) would force a ballot measure to repeal portions of Proposition 47. It would raise penalties for someone who has been convicted at least 3 times of prior theft, violent, or sex offenses and is subsequently convicted of petty theft, as well as expand these penalties to prior or current convictions for shoplifting.

AB 1603 (Salas) would also force a ballot measure to amend Proposition 47 by reducing the threshold for felony grand theft from $950 to $400.

California Budget Update 

In January, the Governor released his proposed budget for 2022-23. The Legislature has until June 15, 2022 to discuss and pass the budget, and we will be engaging in advocacy in these conversations as much as possible. A few highlights include:

  • Due to the resumed intake into state prisons from county jails, the Governor estimates the state prison population to be 112,900 in 2022‑23, an increase of about 8,300 people from 2021-22. However, the Legislative Analyst’s Office believes that this is an overestimate. 
  • $425 million one‑time General Fund (GF) for CDCR COVID‑19 response activities including testing, vaccination surge capacity, custody overtime, and cleaning. 
  • $5 million GF to maintain and expand the number of prisons offering bachelor’s degree programs through California State Universities, to 7 total prisons serving 420 people.
  • $35.6 million GF for CDCR to implement new regulations for handling staff misconduct allegations. Claims of staff misconduct will be forwarded to a new Centralized Screening Team within CDCR’s Office of Internal Affairs. Serious misconduct will be referred to the Allegation Investigation Unit, while other cases will be sent back to local prison or parole staff. $2.3 million for the Office of the Inspector General to monitor the new process.
  • $10.6 million GF for three years to fund the Returning Home Well program, which provides transitional housing to parolees at risk of housing insecurity or homelessness.
  • $4.8 million GF to implement recent resentencing legislation, specifically AB 1540, SB 775, and SB 483.
  • Reduces civil assessment fees by half, from a maximum of $300 to $150.

Calls to Action 

Ways to get involved

  • You can join us at our monthly Virtual Mail Night to respond to mail from people inside. Please RSVP by emailing Elliot at
  • You can follow us on social media @ellabakercenter to spread the word about our programs, calls to actions, and recent victories. (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
  • You can help us share stories from family members in support of SB 300, a bill that will amend the California Felony Murder law, impacting folks sentenced to Life Without Parole and death – a modest reform to an extreme injustice! Check out the BEAUTIFUL ART inside our recently updated SB 300 Social Media Toolkit! Sign up to support SB 300:
  • Support the Racial Justice Act 4 All (AB 256, Asm. Kalra) – RJA Toolkit:
  • You can follow us on social media @ellabakercenter to spread the word about our programs, calls to actions, and recent victories. (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)