We hope that our California Criminal Justice position, supporting materials from across the country, and committee members will assist your League in identifying key reform areas specific to your local communities in California.
We have an inclusive, open approach to organizing -- calling people into this work rather than creating barriers to participation -- so if you are new to these issues we want to be sure you begin by educating yourself. Learn from people who are most impacted by the criminal justice system. Be a good community member, by finding out who is already active in your circles and what they’re prioritizing and why. Support their work.
Members of the League in California are strongly encouraged to join the Criminal Justice Reform GoogleGroup. This is intended to be a peer-to-peer forum for local Leagues to discuss relevant League positions, education opportunities, voter service, and concurrence or studies. In some cases, local Leagues also create their own GoogleGroup to coordinate criminal law related activities speicific for their local community, where all local members are invited to participate (and sometimes even non-members).
California Legislative Action
Based on our statewide positions, LWV California reviews bills before the State Legislature and takes action in support of or opposition to certain measures.
Sign up to receive Action Alerts on the issues you care about.
See current Action Alerts you can take action on.
Check out our Bill Status Report.
We are in the process of creating a detailed education & advocacy page for your use, too! This will prioritize timely actions, make it clear what resources are available (such as social media kits or days of action), links to coalitions, and more.
Local Activities Your League Can Do
Here are some ideas for local education and advocacy on criminal justice:
Protect & Monitor Implementation of AB392 Use of Force
Information for Voters
- The ACLU has an excellent "Meet Your District Attorney" campaign in California.
- LWVLA’s public forum, “Power of Prosecutors” (5-minute highlight video)
- LWVLA’s district attorney candidate forum (90-minute FB livestream)
This is an excellent way to learn about criminal justice if you’re new to the issue, or to bolster your advocacy. You can sign up for an online training from LWV San Francisco. Join the national League Observer Corps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LWVObserverCorps/
Consider hosting a forum, webinar, or creating a FAQ to print and share online. Write an Op Ed. Host a book club. We are sharing information here prepared and/or vetted by the LWV California for use by your local League:
- Balancing Safety and Equity in the Criminal Justice System (link coming soon)
RaceCounts.org is an education tool allowing you to see key criminal justice data organized by race. This is eye opening and may help your League prioritize which communities to partner with to address bias.
CA Death Penalty Coalition as presented by https://www.safecalifornia.org/
- AB 2542, the California Racial Justice Act, introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra and co-sponsored by LWVC, will prohibit racial discrimination in convictions and sentences and create a process to challenge racial discrimination at trial or following conviction. You can find more information in this fact sheet. Racial discrimination in our criminal legal system is not inevitable, it is not unfixable, and it is not harmless. Share the Racial Justice Act on social media and amplify our message with the hashtag #ConfrontRacism. Share/like the bill's announcement on Twitter and Instagram. Or post these graphics to your preferred communication channels: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1D9Kuq65ZHAGOch7wL_mmqADiCZcFo5i_. To have a better sense of the discrimination faced by those impacted by the criminal legal system, we are asking people who were formerly incarcerated about experiences during court proceedings and sentencing. If you experienced racial bias in your legal process, please fill out this survey. If not, please share it with your networks. As part of the coalition sponsoring this legislation, we appreciate your help, consideration, and feedback.
- AB 3070 Anti-Discrimination Jury Selection Act
- AB 2512 Intellectual Disabilities and Death Row (link coming soon)
We also have collected content prepared by local Leagues, without state review or approval (link coming soon).
There are three different ways to include criminal justice in your local priorities:
- Make Criminal Justice Reform an Education Issue for Emphasis in your local League (you do not need to have any positions to do this).
- Make Criminal Justice Reform an Advocacy Issue for Emphasis in your local League (you can use the state position but might also want local position(s) to do this).
- Propose concurrence locally in order to adopt position(s) (if you want additional local positions).
We hope that our California Criminal Justice position, supporting materials from across the country, and our committee members will assist your League in identifying key reform areas specific to your local community. We conducted extensive research which includes state and local positions, policy best practices (policing practices, pre-trial procedures, sentencing, incarceration, re-entry, and general information), and peripheral state and national positions.
- Background Information
- LWV-US Clearinghouse of studies and research -- Index of state and local Criminal Justice positions (Only shows submitted positions, if your Criminal Justice position/study is missing, please get your League to submit it following instructions here: How to Submit a Study or Position - Clearinghouse)
- State Leagues with positions on Juvenile Justice
- State Leagues with positions on Criminal Justice
- LWV California Criminal Justice Position. LWV California used called “concurrence” to establish their Criminal Justice position, but it may be more flexible than the policy your League uses (we highly recommend adopting California's).
We would be happy to give your League advice! Please contact us by joining the Criminal Justice Reform GoogleGroup or emailing us at criminaljustice <at> lwvc.org.