SACRAMENTO – Elected officials, national legal experts, rehabilitation program providers and criminal and juvenile justice reform advocates support the legislation signed today by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to improve California’s criminal and juvenile justice systems, restore the power of judges to impose criminal sentences and reduce recidivism through increased rehabilitation.

Here’s what they are saying:

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon: “These bills show that California values the promise and rights of its youth.”
“These new laws embrace two important ideas, neither of which should be seen as revolutionary. The first is the Constitution’s awareness that our individual rights must be protected alongside our public safety. The second is that we cannot afford to throw away or forget our young people, even those who find themselves in the justice system. These bills show that California values the promise and rights of its youth.”

SB 180 and SB 190 Author Senator Holly J. Mitchell: “These bills help provide the appropriate resources and policies.”
“Sadly, too many poor kids and kids of color today are more likely to end up as victims of the juvenile justice system. If one believes that our children will be tomorrow’s leaders then we must look through a child-development lens. These bills help provide the appropriate resources and policies to get them there.”

AB 1448 Author Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber: “This package of bills represents our continued commitment to reforming our criminal justice system.”
“Last year the Governor signed legislation I authored changing the purpose of criminal sentencing from simply administering punishment to a focus on the long-term goals of public safety and rehabilitation. This package of bills represents our continued commitment to reforming our criminal justice system in a way that ensures public safety while also reducing prison overcrowding and unnecessary burdens on public funds. AB 1448 strikes this balance by providing an opportunity for the release of some elderly non-violent inmates, but at the same time also requires that they clearly demonstrate in a court of law that they are rehabilitated and no longer pose a threat to public safety.” 

SB 620 Author Senator Steven Bradford: “By providing greater options such as comprehensive rehabilitation, that reduces recidivism and judicial discretion.”
“I want to thank my legislative colleagues and the governor for this common sense approach to criminal justice reform. History has shown that there are implicit biases when it comes to charging and sentencing our minority and lower socially economic communities. By providing greater options such as comprehensive rehabilitation, that reduces recidivism and judicial discretion, which allows our courts to mete out justice in a more fair and hopefully color blind manner, we will balance the scales of justice and reduce incarceration.”

AB 1308 Author Assemblymember Mark Stone: “The measure will help people rehabilitate and reintegrate into the community, and it will take another step towards reducing recidivism.”
“People in prison are much more likely to enroll in school, drop out of a gang, or participate in positive programs if they can sit before a parole board. This new law gives some offenders that chance. The measure will help people rehabilitate and reintegrate into the community, and it will take another step towards reducing recidivism.”

SB 312 Author Senator Nancy Skinner: “These bills make vital progress toward a justice system that is fair and balanced.”
“These bills make vital progress toward a justice system that is fair and balanced. My bill, SB 312, creates a path for young people with a past offense to prove they deserve a second chance and clear their criminal records.”

SB 625 Author Senator Toni G. Atkins: “The best thing we can do for our young people is help them build a bright future for themselves, and that is especially true for youth exiting incarceration who want to head in a more positive direction.”
“Governor Brown and I agree that our criminal-justice, sentencing, parole and juvenile-justice systems are in need of reform, and I thank him for signing my bill, SB 625, as part of a package of legislation that continues our efforts to reshape these systems in ways that will help reduce recidivism. The best thing we can do for our young people is help them build a bright future for themselves, and that is especially true for youth exiting incarceration who want to head in a more positive direction. SB 625 will provide another tool for them to create a second chance.”

SB 393, SB 394 and SB 395 Author Senator Ricardo Lara: “The Equity and Justice laws Governor Brown signed take a greatly needed step toward restoring the value of rehabilitation in our justice system.”
“The Equity and Justice laws Governor Brown signed take a greatly needed step toward restoring the value of rehabilitation in our justice system. Science is clear, young people are different, and as such have the capacity to change and become productive members of society. These Equity and Justice laws will give them that opportunity.” 

Equal Justice Initiative Founder and Executive Director Bryan Stevenson: “Our futures are all bound, and California’s leadership on this issue can benefit the state while helping guide the country.”
“Our futures are all bound, and California’s leadership on this issue can benefit the state while helping guide the country. The reforms Governor Brown has championed, to reduce the state’s prison population and increase rates of release, will help provide a viable path toward post-release success.”

Anti-Recidivism Coalition Founder and President Scott Budnick: “These smart-on-crime bills, many passed with a bipartisan vote, embrace the concepts of public safety, accountability and redemption.”
“The package of legislation signed by the Governor today balances public safety with hope and opportunity. Our members of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) credit their change and transformation to an adult mentor believing in them, opportunities for careers and higher education upon release, and hope being created in sentencing and upon reentry, guiding them to a better and moral life. These smart-on-crime bills, many passed with a bipartisan vote, embrace the concepts of public safety, accountability and redemption.” 

Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Senior Advocate Elizabeth Calvin: “California’s children and youth deserve the hope and opportunities these new laws will give them.”
“Well-grounded scientific research shows the human brain doesn’t fully mature until the mid-20s. Governor Brown’s action on these important bills ensures that the state’s youth are protected and given real chances for rehabilitation. California’s children and youth deserve the hope and opportunities these new laws will give them.”

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Clinical Professor of Law Steve Drizin: “This is the most enlightened package of criminal and juvenile justice reform bills in the nation.”
“This is the most enlightened package of criminal and juvenile justice reform bills in the nation. At a time when many states are still just talking about how to reduce mass incarceration, the California General Assembly and Governor Brown are acting – by eliminating mandatory gun and drug enhancements and giving judges more discretion in sentencing, by recognizing that youthful offenders are less culpable than adults for their crimes, and by expanding, rather than abolishing parole for serious youthful offenders. As the attorney for Brendan Dassey, whose case was featured in the NETFLIX docuseries Making a Murderer, I am thrilled that SB 395 – which requires that youths aged 15 and under consult with an attorney before police may interrogate them – is now the law of the nation’s most populous state. SB 395 recognizes that many teenagers are not capable of understanding their Miranda rights and deciding whether to speak to the police without the advice of counsel. California has always been a bellwether state when it comes to criminal and juvenile justice policy. It’s my hope that the courage demonstrated by the legislature and Governor Brown will become contagious and cause others throughout the country to enact similar laws.”

Common: “These bills will offer juvenile offenders a chance at redemption and provide much needed protection for minors during interactions with the justice system.”
“The bills that Governor Jerry Brown is signing today are great steps towards a more just and fair justice system. These bills will offer juvenile offenders a chance at redemption and provide much needed protection for minors during interactions with the justice system. I look forward to working with Governor Brown on future justice reform legislation.” 

#Cut50 Co-Founder Van Jones: “These bills combine evidence-based policy making with a strong sense of compassion and will result in a justice system that prioritizes healing, rehabilitation, and transformation.”
“With the stroke of his pen, the Governor has boldly ended the barbaric practice of sentencing children to die in prison, given hope of a second chance to thousands of men and women convicted as youth, and helped protect the Constitutional rights of children across the state. These bills combine evidence-based policy making with a strong sense of compassion and will result in a justice system that prioritizes healing, rehabilitation, and transformation.” 

The Actors’ Gang Project Founder Tim Robbins: “It is a step in the right direction in undoing the cruel and excessive sentencing policies of the past thirty years.”
“I commend the Governor for signing these juvenile justice bills. It is a step in the right direction in undoing the cruel and excessive sentencing policies of the past thirty years. I have met men in their forties still paying for a mistake they made when they were children and I am convinced that their punishment is excessive and inhumane; a disastrous result of the rhetoric of politicians and the ‘war on drugs.'”

Senior Fellow and Academic Director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Paul Heaton: “The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania applauds legislative efforts to address policies and practices that contribute to errors such as wrongful convictions.”
“As the first research center focused on preventing errors in the criminal justice system, the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania applauds legislative efforts to address policies and practices that contribute to errors such as wrongful convictions. Research suggests that an important contributor to erroneous convictions is sentencing practices that lead individuals who would otherwise wish to assert their innocence at trial to accept guilty pleas out of risk aversion, to avoid the possibility of triggering mandatory or automatically enhanced sentences.”