Based in Oakland, CA, the Ella Baker Center advances racial and economic justice to ensure dignity and opportunity for low income people and people of color. As we navigate the uncertainty and adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ella Baker Center has been fighting for legislation to ensure the safety of our community. We are grateful for the incredible work put in by folks incarcerated who are impacted by these policies, loved ones, and our allies.

POLICY UPDATE: 

Thanks to your support all of EBC’s cosponsored bills will soon be up for their first full Floor Vote! Each has recently passed the Appropriations Committee in either the Assembly or Senate, and will soon be voted on by all the members of that house before crossing over so the next body of lawmakers can vote on them. Thanks to the Appropriations Chairs Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales and Senator Portantino, and everyone who called, chatted, and urged them to move these bills forward! 

Thanks for lending your People Power to move these policies!

– EBC Policy Team

Our Co-Sponsored 2021 Bills

AB 256 Racial Justice Act for All (Asm. Kalra) – When we passed an amended version of the Racial Justice Act in 2020 we vowed to come back with a new bill that will apply retroactively. This bill will do just that. The Racial Justice Act for All extends the protections provided in last year’s AB 2542, a first-of-its-kind law in the state prohibiting the use of race, ethnicity, or national origin in sentencing and convictions. Follow this bill on SM using #RJA4All and sign-up for updates here. This bill passed the Assembly Floor and will be heard in the Senate. 

AB 292 Access to Programming Act (Asm. Stone) – This bill seeks to make Proposition 57 more effective by limiting barriers to rehabilitative programming. It furthermore directs the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to create equitable credit earning incentives. Follow this bill on SM using #AB292. This bill passed the Assembly Floor and will be heard in the Senate. 

SB 483 Repeal Ineffective Sentence Enhancements (RISE) Act (Sen. Allen) – will modestly reduce prison and jail populations, and improve the fairness of the criminal legal system by retroactively applying the elimination of the three-year and one-year sentence enhancements enacted by the State Legislature in 2017 and 2019, as recommended by the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code, numerous experts, reform advocates and the families of incarcerated people. This bill passed the Senate Floor and will be heard in the Assembly. 

SB 300 Sentencing Reform Act of 2021 (Sen. Corteze) Inactive – will reform California’s unjust “felony murder special circumstance” law. The bill would ensure that the death penalty and life without the possibility of parole would not be imposed on those who did not kill a person, or who as an accomplice to a felony, did not intend that a person die. It will restore to judges the discretion to strike the ‘special circumstances’ enhancement in the interest of justice, and provide for resentencing of persons currently sentenced to death by execution, or death in prison without opportunity to earn parole. 

Senator Cortese has moved SB 300 to the inactive file, which means the bill is on hold for now. The bill is still alive. We have two years to get the bill through the legislature so the fight is not over! The coalition is already moving forward with next steps to get SB 300 passed. Thank you to Senator Cortese, all our co-authors, and every single person who took action to support this essential bill. Our cosponsor group is determined to take SB 300 across the finish line.

Other Policy Work

The #StopSanQuentinOutbreak coalition came together in June 2020 after the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) transferred over 100 individuals from a known COVID-19 hotspot to San Quentin State Prison, causing what soon became the biggest coronavirus outbreak in the nation to date. Organizers, loved ones, and several social justice organizations (including Ella Baker Center and Re:Store Justice) came together to amplify the demands of our currently incarcerated community members at San Quentin. We continue to demand large-scale releases (without categorical exclusions based on conviction or sentence) across all California state prisons, jails, and ICE detention centers. Decarceration remains the only public health solution to this global pandemic inside and beyond prison walls. Read the original demands from organizers inside San Quentin here.