The REFORM Alliance has achieved its first major legislative accomplishment with the enactment of AB 1950, legislation that will significantly improve California’s probation system and help put hundreds of thousands of Californians on probation in positions to succeed and exit the criminal justice system once and for all.
This is the first major legislative victory for the REFORM Alliance, which is co-founded by Meek Mill, Michael Rubin, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Robert Kraft, Clara Wu Tsai, Michael Novogratz, Dan Loeb, Robert Smith, Robert Kraft, and Laura Arnold and the CEO is Van Jones.
REFORM worked with Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove, the legislation’s primary sponsor, to push AB 1950 through this session. Jessica Jackson (REFORM’s Chief Advocacy Officer) and Erin Haney (REFORM’s National Policy Director) led the organization’s campaign to generate more than 3,500 emails from Californians to their legislators and to Governor Gavin Newsom, who formally signed the measure into law on September 30.
The new law will limit probation sentences to maximum of one year for misdemeanors and two years for felonies, which will reduce needless probation violations and make across state travel safer.
Currently, there are around 300,000 adults on probation in California leading to over $4,400 in taxpayer costs annually. The state spends $2 billion each year to incarcerate people for supervision violations – $235 million of which is spent on incarcerating people for victimless, technical violations like coming home late from work.
The reduction of probation terms from 3 years to 1 year for misdemeanors and 5 years to 2 years for felonies via AB 1950 could amount to $2.1 billion in reduced incarceration, probation, and judicial and operational costs over 5 years in California.
“This is exactly why we created REFORM – to change laws and create a smarter criminal justice system focused on rehabilitation and redemption all while keeping communities safe,” said REFORM co-chair Michael Rubin. “We’re grateful for Governor Newsom and Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove’s commitment to making such meaningful change in California and we hope it sets a necessary precedent for state leaders across the country.”
“By signing AB 1950 into law, Governor Newsom has further cemented his legacy as a champion for justice, redemption, and opportunity,” said Van Jones, CEO of REFORM. “In a year that has been so challenging and difficult for so many, this reform marks a bright spot that will lead to better outcomes for individuals and families across California. I cannot thank the Governor enough for supporting this legislation. I look forward to working with him to make the measure even stronger and more meaningful in the coming year.”
“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in signing AB1950, the most transformative probation bill in this country to date,” said Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter in a statement. “This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much needed change through the country.”