Fair Sentencing for Youth



Take Action

Support SB 1052: MIRANDA RIGHTS FOR YOUTH! Write a letter to your Assembly Member.

If passed, a youth under age 18 would get to consult with an attorney before waiving Miranda rights. NEW LETTERS ARE NOW NEEDED. Because this bill passed in the Senate, it is now in the Assembly. It will be harder to pass it there. Please write a new letter!

Click here for an easy sample letter you can use!  Find out who your Assembly Member is here.

Click here for a fact sheet on SB 1052.

In California, children—no matter how young—can waive their rights. A recent appellate court opinion held that a 10-year-old made a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights. When the police asked if he understood the right to remain silent, he had replied, “Yes, that means that I have the right to stay calm.” We think that if you don’t understand what your rights are, you shouldn’t be able to give them up. Senate Bill 1052 would ensure children and youth understand their rights.

This bill would require youth be given the chance to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in a situation of custodial interrogation by the police. The bill also provides guidance for courts in determining whether a youth’s Miranda waiver was made in a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent manner as required under existing law.

Many states have taken legislative action on this issue, and it is time for California to do the same. Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court noted that this state’s law on juvenile waivers is a half-century old and “predates by several decades the growing body of scientific research that the [U.S. Supreme Court] has repeatedly found relevant in assessing differences in mental capabilities between children and adults.”

Be a part of passing this bill!

Call and urge your Assembly Member to support Miranda rights for youth. Encourage him or her to vote yes on SB 1052.

It is very powerful for an Assembly Member to hear from his or her constituents. Making phone calls is a quick and easy way to get your opinion across and can have great impact.

Follow the simple instructions below to call your representative:

  1. Find out who your representative is and his or her phone number here.
  2. When you call, you can say something like this:
    1. Hello, I am a constituent and am calling to support a bill.
      Pause and wait a second. This will give the person time to grab the notebook or whatever is used to write down who calls.
    2. It is Senate Bill 1052 by Senator Lara.
      Speak slowly.
    3. Would you please let the Assembly Member know I called to urge him/her to support SB 1052?
    4. If the person on the phone asks why you support the bill or if you wish to make a statement, (usually they do not ask this) keep it short and simple. You can say something like: 
      This bill is fair for youth. We should make sure young people understand their rights.

Take part in helping SB 1052 succeed.

Help Change California!

  • Be informed! Keep checking back here for updates and news. Sign up for updates right here (upper right, blue box.) We will soon be announcing important bills California is considering this year!
  • Be active!We are working on making sure the Youth Offender Parole process under SB 260 is going right. We will participate in the regulation-making process for SB 260, and invite you to help with this, too. Watch for alerts on ways you can be involved.California has a chance to dramatically change its justice system. We are working to get The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act on the November ballot. This measure would affect prison credit and parole practices and also dramatically change whether youth end up in the adult system. It is about making rehabilitation the focus of the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
    Read the Act: The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016
    JOIN US! Click here to get occasional updates, learn more, and get involved!
  • Be educated! Join us every first and third Tuesday of the month for a telephone call meeting for family members and friends of youth sentenced to adult prison terms. It’s an hour of sharing and learning, and everyone is welcome to attend! Just call in at 8pm to: (805) 399-1000, and use the code: 817682#
  • Be supported! Join CARES, a group of family and friends of youth. Learn more about CARES or go to www.caresforyouth.org
  • Be cool! Sign up for tweets and get occasional text messages on these important issues. You don’t need a “smart phone.” Just send a text message to the number 40404, and the text: follow fairsentencing It’s free, although your regular text charges will apply.