Fair Sentencing for Youth



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News Archive

Senate passes youth life without parole bill, moving CA one step closer to ending the sentence for youth!

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

On May 30th, the California Senate passed SB 394, the “Montgomery Bill.” It now heads to the State Assembly, where it will need to survive two committees and a vote of the full Senate to become law. If it does become law, people sentenced to life without parole for crimes that happened under age 18 will have a chance at parole starting in the 25th year of incarceration. Click here to act!

SPREAD SOME LIGHT! Donate to the CARES Holiday Project: Gifts for murder victim family members

Monday, December 5th, 2016

We all know the holidays are an especially hard time for people who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Help CARES raise money to give gifts to murder victim families during the holiday season. The 4th Annual CARES Holiday Project is a chance to give to families who have suffered a lot. Joining us for this project are men at Lancaster Prison! Please send a donation of ANY AMOUNT (no amount too small!)

This project is a reminder that compassion and connection can overcome so many barriers. Every year we hear gratitude from the people who receive the gifts. They are especially moved that the people giving are family and friends of those in prison, and people in prison themselves.

Send your donation to: HRW CARES Victim Holiday Gifts, 11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. 541, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Make checks out to either Elizabeth Calvin, or HRW (HRW if you want it to be a nonprofit donation) with subject line: “CARES Victim Family Gifts.” If you need a receipt, please let us know.

Hear Jason’s story of success with a SB 261 Youth Offender Parole Hearing!

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Join us for the CARES Family & Friends Call Tuesday, December 6th at 8:00 pm when we welcome JASON who was just paroled a few weeks ago under SB 261. His talk will be packed with important information for anyone seeking parole under SB260/261. Join us! Everyone is welcome. Call: (641) 715-3670 Code: 817682#

At age 20 Jason was sentenced to 15-to-life for Second Degree Murder. He spent more than 23 years in prison and is among the first people paroled under the expanded Youth Offender Parole process, SB 261. His own hard work and the help of the Youth Offender Parole process led to his release November 8th. Jason will describe his life journey and what he did to prepare for his hearing and release. He’ll share heartfelt insights into his crime, and describe how even without a “perfect” prison record he was able to use self-study, programs, and inmate-led groups to earn parole. He will answer your questions about the hearing process and what commissioners are looking for in people’s lives.


There will be time to for you to welcome him home and ask questions.

Read this article about SB 1052 and the 10-year-old who inspired the bill.

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

‘I shot dad’: The tragic case of a child who killed his abusive, neo-Nazi father, and why SB 1052 is a sane response.  Click here.  Convinced? Help out here. 

Miranda Rights for Youth Bill Passed in Assembly! Now on to the Senate!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The California state Assembly passed a bill that would require a consultation with a lawyer for anyone under the age of 18 before they can waive their Miranda rights and be questioned. Now the Senate will decide the bill’s fate. TAKE ACTION HERE. Watch this video about a police interrogation of a 13-year-old boy and his mother’s insirational response.

California Senate Bill 1052 passed in the state’s lower house with a vote of 50-28. It will next be considered by the state Senate. If passed into law SB 1052 would provide extra protection for children in the custody of the police. It is based on research that shows the reduced capacity of children to comprehend complex legal issues and to appreciate the consequences of their actions. The bill would in effect give children assistance so they would have parity with adults in making important decisions about waiving their rights to remain silent and speaking to the police without an attorney.

Watch this powerful, short video. You will be moved.

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

See a 13-year-old child being interrogated by the police: It is horrifying.  Hear his mother’s reaction: It is inspiring.  Watch Miranda Rights for Youth.   /  Take action here.


Youth Offender Program: Lower security level for people under age 22. Hear people inside talk about the program.

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Click to watch the video and hear young men who’ve just entered prison and benefited from the Youth Offender Program, and older men who wish they’d had it, give advice. When last year AB 1276 became law, young people entering California state prisons got a chance to as one young man describes, not become “fresh meat ” on level IV yards and instead go to yards with education  and vocational opportunities. CDCR just released this video with the voices of men speaking about the program to youth entering prison.

July 19th 8pm CARES Call welcomes home Bernard after 25 years in prison. We’ll learn from him about Youth Offender parole.

Monday, July 18th, 2016

JOIN US!  Tuesday night we have a double-header with two wonderful guests: Bernard paroled under SB 261 Youth Offender Parole just a few weeks ago, and Dominik Taylor is a staff attorney from Root and Rebound.  Join us for the CARES for Youth Family and Friends Call on Tuesday, July 19th at 8PM Just call in to join! Everyone is welcome. Call: (641) 715-3670 Code: 817682#

Bernard paroled from prison on June 22nd.

Tuesday night we’ll welcome home Bernard, who did more than 25 years in prison. He had a Youth Offender Parole hearing because he was 22 years old at the time of his crime. Join us to hear the story of how, as a young man, he ended up on a path of destruction and in deep trouble with the law. Then learn how his hard work made parole possible. He became a leader in several prisoner-led groups, helping himself and many others. (For example, he facilitated the Victim Offender Education Group; Victim Offender Education- Next Step; Guiding Rage into Power; and Alliance for Change.)

Bernard has advice for you and your loved one about how to make Youth Offender Parole work for you. Also, he paroled to an out-of-state location, and can describe how that was possible.

Dominik Taylor is a staff attorney at Root and Rebound.

Dominik will tell us about Root & Rebound resources for the CARES community. He will also speak about an upcoming interactive toolkit that will make it possible for you and your loved one inside to work on a timeline of activities together and prepare for reentry. Prior to working for Root and Rebound, Dominik represented non-citizens in deportation hearings; interned at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, New York; the Federal Public Defender in Richmond, Virginia; and at the Supreme Court of Virginia. After graduating from law school, Dominik worked at the San Diego County Public Defender, where he represented people charged with misdemeanors, and was a Law Fellow at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, where he represented people on Alabama’s death row.

Learn about Youth Offender Parole & get an update on family visits!

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Tuesday, July 5th at 8pm

Join the call: CARES meeting for Families and Friends

 Learn about Youth Offender Parole from experienced parole attorney, Laura Sheppard

Also! Get a brief update on the status of family visits for lifers

Ms. Sheppard will explain SB 260 / SB 261, Youth Offender Parole and answer your questions.

Join us! Everyone is welcome.  Call: (641) 715-3670  Code: 817682#
Laura Sheppard has worked with lifers since 2009. Her practice also includes trial-level and appellate criminal defense. She trains students and young attorneys in parole work. She has been state-appointed at seven different prisons, and currently has private (retained) clients at 13 prisons.
Ms. Sheppard’s involvement with lifers began as a child, when her parents mentored a lifer through the Match-2 program. Later, this lifer was to become her first client. With her help, he paroled to her parents’ home in 2013, after 38 years in prison. He recently passed away, and Laura considers her work to be his legacy.  Read more about here and get her updates on relevant changes in the law: www.facebook.com/lrsheppardlaw

It’s OFFICIAL! Prop 57 will be on the November Ballot.

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

In November, California voters across the state will vote on Proposition 57. If passed, people in prison could earn credit toward their sentences by working on rehabilitation in education, vocational training, and treatment. It would also slow the flow of children into adult courts by taking away the authority of DAs to decide the fate of a child, and instead having judges determine whether a youth gets the help available in the juvenile system or faces adult prison terms. Learn more here. Send an email here if you would like updates and want to get involved.