Fair Sentencing for Youth

 

   

May 1st 8pm CARES Call is on Commutations and Pardons. Join us!

Join CARES for Youth for a candid and informative discussion of pardons and commutations of sentences in California. Our guest Colby Lenz will focus on the  commutation application process and give us insight into recent grants made by Governor Brown. Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 8:00pm. Call: (515) 604-9384. Code: 313882#

Colby Lenz is an advocate and organizer with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and has worked with people imprisoned in California women’s prisons for the past 15 years. This work includes release support and building leadership among currently and formerly imprisoned people and their families. Colby organizes with Survived & Punished, a national project to end the criminalization of survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Colby is also a PhD candidate in American Studies & Ethnicity at USC where she studies the rise of life without parole sentencing in California, and social movements against life and death sentencing.

 

What is a gubernatorial (governor’s) pardon?

Individuals who have been convicted of a crime in California may apply to the governor for a gubernatorial pardon. A gubernatorial pardon is an honor that may be granted to people who have demonstrated exemplary behavior following their conviction. A pardon will not be granted unless it has been earned. Historically, governors have granted very few pardons.

 

What is a commutation?

Prisoners currently serving a sentence for a conviction by the California courts can petition to have their sentence reduced or eliminated by applying for a commutation of sentence.

CARES Call! Tuesday April 17th at 8pm

Writing a letter in support of a proposed new law or for someone who is preparing for a parole board hearing can be daunting. This Tuesday, you will get tips and tools making letter writing easy and your words effective. Once you start, you will find yourself empowered to be more engaged with your community and loved ones.

Join the CARES Call! Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 8 p.m. Call: (515) 604-9384Code: 313882#

Our speaker this week is CARES for Youth’s own Dennis Flynn. He has been a school administrator and teacher, and also has spent a lot of time reading and writing letters in support of a commutation of sentence for his daughter, Kelly, and has written many letters for bills being considered in Sacramento.

 

By the end of the call you will have the tools needed to write a strong letter demonstrating your support for a family member or friend’s release from prison or a bill that would change law.  Then on May 1styou will be ready for CARES Call guest Colby Lenz, who will discuss gubernatorial pardons and commutations.

Stand up for kids. YOUR Reps in Sacramento need to hear from YOU. Take two minutes, and sign a letter in support of SB 1391!

An important bill that seeks to overturn California’s law permitting 14- and 15-year-olds to be sent to adult court and face adult prison terms cleared a hurdle April 3 when it passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee with five yes votes and one no. When it came time for those in the audience to express support, more than three-quarters of the room stood and lined up for the mic in a strong show of support for protecting youth from the harm of incarceration and being tried as adults.  During the hearing, Senator Bradford addressed the representatives of the several law enforcement associations that opposed the bill, “If this was your 14- or 15-year-old, what options would you want for them? And I guarantee you wouldn’t want them in an adult court, you wouldn’t want them in an adult prison, and I stake my life on that,” and announced his support for the bill.He went on to say, “…[A]gain, these are black and brown kids who are being suffered and being sent to prison like this… [T]hey belong in a juvenile court, not in an adult court, not in adult prison and… as Senator Lara stated, let’s talk about the trauma that has impacted many of these young folks who are on the wrong path.  What has happened in the home, what has happened in the community? …[S]tudies… have shown some kids from 12 to 14 have the same symptoms as individuals that have gone to war, because of the trauma and violence they see in their communities. To sit here and say they are ready to go to adult prison, I just find that absurd and I would strongly support this bill and I hope I can be added as a co-author to this measure as well, and only ask for more common-sense legislation as we move forward.”As common-sense as this bill seems, the law enforcement opposition means it will have a difficult time being passed if senators and assembly members do not hear from people. It will be heard next on April 23rd in the Appropriations Committee. This is the time to act, and to tell your Senator and Assembly Member that they must support this bill! Head over to the Take Action page to sign letters in support of SB 1391, it will take two minutes out of your day.Spread the word about SB 1391 and help us protect the lives of 14- and 15-year-old children.

 

 

 

Help Stop California from treating 14 and 15-year-olds as adults.

Hear from Daniel about why this is important. THEN, STAND UP FOR YOUTH. Read about SB 1391 hereThen, take two minutes and print and sign a letter of support. Click here for letters you can use. Believe us: Letters really make an impact.

No one thinks a 14 or 15-year-old is an adult, right? Wrong. California does.

 In this state a 14 or 15-year-old can be sent to adult court, tried as an adult, and sentenced to adult prison terms, including life in prison. TAKE TWO MINUTES TO HELP END THIS PRACTICE WITH A LETTER. They can’t drive, buy a lottery ticket, go to an R-rated movie, purchase a beer or cigarettes. Yet, if they commit a crime, they can be treated just like an adult and lose the chance for rehabilitation in the juvenile system. It’s wrong to give up on children, and it is time for the law to be changed. A new bill would end this practice. But it needs your help if it is going to become law.
STAND UP FOR YOUTH.
Read about the bill hereThen, take two minutes and print and sign a letter of support. Click here for letters you can use. Believe us: Letters really make an impact.
A 14 or 15-year-old is #NotAnAdult. #PassSB1391.
Prison sentences are #NotRightforaChild. #PassSB1391.
Our youth deserve #CareNotCages. #PassSB1391.

SPREAD SOME HOLIDAY LOVE AND HEALING!

Donate to the CARES Holiday Project 2017: Gifts for murder victim family members.

Joy and happiness fill our lives during the holidays, but for some, it can be especially tough who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Please join CARES in raising money to provide gifts to murder victim families during the holiday season. The 5th Annual CARES Holiday Project is a chance to give to families who have suffered the unimaginable.

Please consider donating any amount (no amount is too small). We truly appreciate your generosity!

This project is a reminder that compassion and connection can overcome so many barriers. Every year dozens of families receive these gifts and are incredibly grateful for the kind gesture. They are especially moved that the people giving are family and friends of those in prison, and people in prison themselves.

We cannot do this without your help, we invite you to support our community of healing friends and family this holiday season.

Send your donation to:
HRW CARES Victim Holiday Gifts
11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. 540
Los Angeles, CA 90064.

Please make checks out to either Elizabeth Calvin, or Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch if you want it to be a nonprofit donation) with the memo line: “CARES Victim Family Gifts.” Please indicate if you would like a tax-deductible receipt.

Thank you for your continued support!

 

Take Action! Thank your local legislator!

Celebrate Children’s Rights Progress!

We played a big role in three significant wins for California children this year.

Help us thank leaders who stood up for children’s rights! It is important for policymakers to know that we appreciate their support for SB 394, AB 1308, and SB 395. If you do not know who your representatives are, use this easy search engine.

Call Governor Brown at (916) 445-2841, or send him a tweet at @JerryBrownGov to say thanks.

See if your representative voted for these bills, and get their phone numbers and twitter handles here.

The call is as simple as: “My name is ___________, and I am calling to thank the Governor [or Senator, or Assembly Member] for supporting these important bills, SB 394, AB 1308, and SB 395.”

The tweet could say: “Thank you [@twitterhandle] for supporting [#SB394/#SB395/#AB1308] and advancing #childrensrights in #CA! @hrw.”

SB 394 means children in California will no longer be sentenced to die in prison. It gives people who committed a crime under age 18 and were sentenced to life without parole the chance to earn release and come home. No other country outside the US imposes life without parole sentences on children.

AB 1308 protects transition-age youth sent to prison, giving them special opportunities by extending eligibility for “Youth Offender Parole” through age 25. The new law means young people will be treated fairly, and have a better chance at parole.

SB 395 protects children in police custody, ensuring that they’re not alone when making complex legal decisions, like whether to give up their rights. Now, police in California will not be able to interrogate children age 15 and under until a child has consulted with an attorney.

Join the celebration! October 19th in L.A.

PLEASE RSVP to michael.soller@sen.ca.gov

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, Oct. 17th at 8pm: Join the CARES Call for families and friends of youth in prison, and attorneys will answer your questions

Do you have questions about Prop 57 or Youth Offender Parole? Want to understand what newly-passed laws mean for your loved ones? You can get your questions answered by a panel of attorneys who are leading experts on these issues. Join the CARES for Youth Call!  Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 8 p.m. Call: (515) 604-9384  Then use Code: 313882# Everyone is welcome.
This panel of highly experienced and knowledgeable attorneys will be on the CARES Call, eager to answer your questions and describe some of the new, tremendous changes happening in California law. We anticipate a big turnout and lots of questions, and so for this call we ask that you try to submit your questions in advance to dennis@caresforyouth.org with the subject line, “Question for Cares Call 10/17/17.”  Written questions will be answered first, and the panelists will take live questions if time permits.
 
Our panel is: Heidi Rummel, clinical professor of law at USC Gould School of Law and director of the Post Conviction Justice Project. Professor Rummel is a former US Attorney, and was on the drafting teams for SB 260/261 and SB 394, among others. She is an attorney with extensive experience in California parole law, and was lead counsel in the crucially important Lawrence case. She has played a leadership role in the implementation of Youth Offender Parole and Prop 57.
 
Rourke Stacy, juvenile justice advocate, Office of the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Ms. Stacy is a criminal defense attorney with more than 15 years of experience in both juvenile and criminal courts, and has argued before the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She was on the drafting team for Prop 57, and has helped draft several bills, including SB 1052/SB 395, among others. She has led, along with Sue Burrell of the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, the statewide implementation of Prop 57 transfer law.
 
Elizabeth Calvin, senior advocate at Human Rights Watch. Over the last 12 years Ms. Calvin has coordinated campaigns to change how California treats youth and young adults in the justice systems, and she led the drafting teams for important laws that include SB 9, SB 394, SB 395, AB 1276, SB 260/261 and Prop 57 (juv piece.)  

New, UPDATED Youth Offender Parole Guide!

Get yours here! Just click where it says “Youth Offender Parole Guide” on the right side of this page. New laws that expand eligibility for Youth Offender Parole have just been enacted (SB 394 and AB 1308), and the Youth Offender Parole Guide is updated! It is a guide for people inside and their friends and family on the outside. Please share with those who may be interested.