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.
For more in-depth explanations of our policy work, breakdown of bills, and resources please check-out our policy newsletter here.
The New Year brings new laws into effect. The RISE Act – SB483 – will remove over 20K years of incarceration for people in California’s prisons and jails. Does your loved one have a 1 or 3 year sentence enhancement for a prison prior? SB483 is a RETROACTIVE repeal of these enhancements! Thank you COMMUNITY for this Victory!
Senate Bill 483 (Allen) se basa en victorias políticas pasadas para aplicar la eliminación del alargamiento de sentencias de uno y tres años a las personas que actualmente están detenidas en prisiones y cárceles. SB 483 representa un paso significativo hacia la reducción del daño que hacen las sentencias largas e injustas.
SB 483 ahora autoriza a los tribunales a aplicar las derogaciones a la extensión de sentencias, reduciendo de manera retroactiva las sentencias de todos aquellos que están en prisión o cárcel por estas extensiones.
Racial Justice Continues!
We will be pushing for the RJA4All this legislative season. Prepare by listening to people already impacted by our courts on why we need the RJA4All. Read the op-ed on #RJA4ALL by CURB’s Executive Director Amber-Rose & Rahsaan Thomas: “California Can No Longer Afford to Ignore the History of Racism in the Courts”
Our Co-Sponsored 2022 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.
SB 300 Sentencing Reform Act (Sen. Corteze)– 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. SB300 has moved from the Assembly Public Safety Committee to Appropriations, read the press release here.
Our Co-Sponsored 2021 Bills
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 was passed and signed into law!
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 was passed and signed into law! Read our policy newsletter with FAQ for incarcerated people.
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.