Fair Sentencing for Youth



Take Action

    Support Expanding Youth Offender Parole! Write a letter for SB 261.

    Senate Bill 261 (Hancock) would build on the capacity of young people to turn their lives around and not be defined by the worst thing they have ever done. Recognizing that young people age 18 to 23 deserve a second chance, SB 261 would extend the existing youth offender parole process to young adults sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

    Please join us in supporting this important bill. Letters must be submitted by April 21st to be in the official record.  

    Click here for a sample support letter. Here is a fact sheet about the bill, and you can read the bill text here. Read a piece by Newt Gingrich supporting SB 261.


       Get involved in a NEW way: Give your opinion on Youth Offender Parole Regulations.

    Many thousands of people helped pass SB 260, the Youth Offender Parole law. Maybe you are one! Or maybe you have a friend or family member who is affected by the new law. Or, maybe you just care about how California treats young people. Whoever you are, please consider giving your input to the regulations.

    Regulations are important because they tell the agency how to make the law work. The Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) is the agency in charge of much of SB 260/Youth Offender Parole. It has put out draft proposed regulations.

    BPH must gather public input about how the regulations should look. This is your chance to shape an important piece of youth offender parole.

    LEARN A LITTLE:  Look at this very brief presentation about the regulation-making process.

    If you would like to focus in on one area of the regulations, look at this brief presentation that explains and gives ideas about how to weigh in on “suitability factors.”

    READ THE GUIDE!  USC School of Law students wrote a A Guide to Giving YOUR opinion on Youth Offender Parole Regulations. It will take you step-by-step through the process. Use it!

    FIND THE FORM LETTER: A sample letter for you to use is on the last page of the guide.

    READ WHAT FAMILY MEMBERS, EX-LIFERS, & OTHERS HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN.  You can read these letters written by family members of youth, ex-lifers, and other community members to see what they are suggesting.Family and Friends letter 1;   Family & Friends letter 2;   Family & Friends letter 3;   Family & Friends letter 4;   Family and Friends letter 5. Read these letters for inspiration–or print and sign one yourself! (Change it however you see fit.)


    Send us a copy, if you can, to: Elizabeth Calvin, Human Rights Watch, 11500 W.Olympic Blvd., Ste. 540, Los Angeles, 90064


    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.
    • 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.