On September 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a series of bills into law the reform the state’s criminal justice, juvenile justice, and policing systems. In particular, AB 1950 caps probation terms to a maximum of one year for misdemeanor offenses and two years for felonies.
“Americans across the country took to the streets this summer rightfully demanding more and better of our criminal justice system – and of ourselves,” said Governor Newsom in a statement. “We heard those calls for action loud and clear and today are advancing reforms to improve policing practices by ending the carotid hold and requiring independent investigations in officer-involved shootings. We are also taking important steps to break the school-to-prison pipeline.”
Newson continued, “Still, we can and must do more. Working with our youth, faith and community leaders, law enforcement, the Legislature and countless others demanding change, my Administration remains committed to the important work ahead to make our criminal and juvenile justice systems fairer and safer for all Californians.”
With the enactment of AB 1950 into law, the REFORM Alliance is claiming its first major legislative accomplishment. The criminal justice reform organization worked with the legislation’s primary sponsor, Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles), to push AB 1950 through the California legislature this session.
MAJOR REFORM VICTORY! California enacts #AB1950.
— REFORM Alliance (@REFORM) October 1, 2020
“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in signing AB 1950, the most transformative probation bill in this country to date,” said REFORM Alliance founding partner Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter in a statement. “This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much needed change through the country.”
Jay-Z is part of a REFORM Alliance team that also includes Hip Hop artist Meek Mill (Co-Chair), Philadelphia 76ers partner Michael Rubin (Co-Chair), CNN commentator Van Jones (CEO), New England Patriots owner Robert Craft (Founding Partner), and Vista Equity Partners Chairman/CEO Robert Smith (Founding Partner).
“This is exactly why we created REFORM – to change laws and create a smarter criminal justice system focused on rehabilitation and redemption all while keeping communities safe,” said Michael Rubin. “We’re grateful for Governor Newsom and Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove’s commitment to making such meaningful change in California and we hope it sets a necessary precedent for state leaders across the country.”
Van Jones added, “By signing AB 1950 into law, Governor Newsom has further cemented his legacy as a champion for justice, redemption, and opportunity. In a year that has been so challenging and difficult for so many, this reform marks a bright spot that will lead to better outcomes for individuals and families across California. I cannot thank the Governor enough for supporting this legislation. I look forward to working with him to make the measure even stronger and more meaningful in the coming year.”
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Congratulations to @REFORM and the state of California! AB1950 will help put the hundreds of thousands of Californians on probation in a position to succeed and exit the criminal justice system for good. Probation will now be capped at 1 year for misdemeanors and 2 years for most felonies. The changes AB1950 enacts will help make communities safer and save money. Thank you Governor @GavinNewsom for your leadership!