Governor Brown Please sign (AB 420) Redistricting and Anti-shackling (AB 568) Bills

September 16, 2011

Governor Jerry Brown
Via Fax: (916) 558-3177

Re:    AB 420 & AB 568–SUPPORT

Dear Governor Brown,

We, the undersigned, write to you in strong support of two critical bills currently awaiting your signature: AB 420 – Redistricting and AB 568 – limiting the use of shackles. If signed, these bills will correct two extremely unfair practices impacting prisoners and their families statewide.

We are affiliated with Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) a broad-based statewide alliance of over 40 organizations committed to reducing the number of people in prison and the number of prisons in the state. We see budget advocacy as an important step in re-prioritizing California’s use of resources. Investing in communities (services like education, housing, employment, and healthcare) is the true backbone of public safety. AB 420 and AB 568 are of particular importance to our members as they will both greatly impact the treatment and conditions of our loved ones and community members as well as our physical communities.

Because of the disproportionate number of people of color in our state who are incarcerated, the impact of AB 420 could be extremely great.  By providing the Commission on Redistricting accurate information regarding the place of residence of people in California’s prisons, they will have the information needed to draw district lines that correctly reflect the population in our state. AB 420 is not a bill that should pit urban areas against the rest of California.  Rather, it is a bill that recognizes the basic principle of “one person, one vote.”  This is a bill that could contribute to providing fair and proportional representation to all Californians.

Assembly Bill 568 requires the Corrections Standards Authority to develop standards for transporting pregnant prisoners to and from correction facilities in the least restrictive manner possible and requires the standards to ensure that women prisoners who are pregnant are not shackled. Restraint practices vary throughout the state, and only one-third of counties have adopted policies requiring the use of least restrictive restraints on pregnant prisoners. It is important to standardize county policies. AB 568 ensures the safety of correctional staff and other inmates by allowing officers to retain their discretion to use appropriate restraints when faced with a legitimate security need, but they must remove those restraints once a threat has passed. Costs to implement regulations are minimal as any regulatory changes will be incorporated in the routine regulatory review cycle of the entities involved.

For these reasons, we strongly support AB 420 & AB 568 and strongly urge you to sign these bills.

Sincerely,

A New PATH LA –  Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing
A New Way of Life Reentry Project
Action Committee on Women in Prison
All of Us or None
America Friends Service Committee
American Civil Liberties Union Southern California
Berkeley Needle Exchange Emergency Distribution
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
California Partnership
California Prison Moratorium Project
Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Center for Young Women’s Development
Community United Against Violence
Community Works West – Project WHAT!
Conservatives for Social Change
Critical Resistance
Development Services
Dignity In Schools: Golden Gate School of Law Chapter
Drug Policy Alliance
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Enlace
Fair Chance Project
Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes
Friends Committee on Legislation
Haywood Burns Institute
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Iraq Veternas Against the War – San Francisco Chapter
Justice Now
Justice Policy Institute
Juvenile Offenders Committee
La Raza Centro Legal
Labor/Community Strategy Center
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Life Support Alliance
Moms United to End the War on Drugs
National Association of Brothers and Sisters In & Out
OASIS Clinic
Prison Activist Resource Center
Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles
Quaker Friends – Santa Cruz
Returning Home Foundation
RUACH
San Gabriel Progressives
Sisters of St. Joseph – Los Angeles
Southern California Library
The Dolores Huerta Foundation
The Other Death Penalty Project
The Sentencing Project
Time for Change Foundation
Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project
United for Drug Policy Reform
Women for Change Foundation
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Santa Cruz
Youth Communist League of Southern California
Youth Justice Coalition