In the wake of nationwide demonstrations against structural racism and systemic injustice, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a series of bills into law initiating critical criminal justice, juvenile justice and policing reforms in California. Delivering on his promise this summer to sign a bill ending the use of the carotid restraint, Governor Newsom signed AB 1196 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) which bans the practice statewide, and signed AB 1506 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) requiring the California Attorney General to conduct investigations into officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals that result in death. He also took action on legislation that reforms the juvenile justice system to put more emphasis on rehabilitation and education, as well as creating a more just probation system.
“Americans across the country took to the streets this summer rightfully demanding more and better of our criminal justice system – and of ourselves,” said Governor Newsom. “We heard those calls for action loud and clear and today are advancing reforms to improve policing practices by ending the carotid hold and requiring independent investigations in officer-involved shootings. We are also taking important steps to break the school-to-prison pipeline. Still, we can and must do more. Working with our youth, faith and community leaders, law enforcement, the Legislature and countless others demanding change, my Administration remains committed to the important work ahead to make our criminal and juvenile justice systems fairer and safer for all Californians.”
The action builds on Governor Newsom’s record enacting major change on criminal justice reform during his first years in office – from enacting one of the nation’s strongest police use-of-force standards, to putting a moratorium on the death penalty and shutting down California’s execution chamber, to closing prisons. The Administration will continue to work with the Legislature on additional reforms, including efforts to increase transparency in peace officer records and broader decertification measures to create accountability for officers with a history of misconduct.
Governor Newsom also took action on important juvenile justice reforms. Building on the Governor’s commitment to end juvenile imprisonment as we know it, he signed several bills to support young people coming out of the criminal justice system and to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. SB 823 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review takes the first, formal step of closing the Division of Juvenile Justice, which will help to provide youth rehabilitative services closer to home.
Other bills the Governor signed that support youth include AB 901 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), which will end the practice of referring youth who are having problems at school to probation programs. Additionally, SB 203 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) requires that children under age 17 have an opportunity to consult with legal counsel before interrogation, and SB 1290 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) will cancel certain fees assessed on juvenile offenders and their families.