Blog|Social Justice Working Group
ACA 3 did not make it past the finish line in the California legislature before the June 30th deadline. The bill’s supporters, including Social Justice Working Group members, were working in the final hours to craft language acceptable to Senators from both sides of the aisle who were concerned about fiscal and operational implications. Sadly, the clock ran out. We have been in touch with the bill’s author and the advocacy groups who have expressed their gratitude for the calls and messages to legislators from people at Grace and other Episcopal institutions. There will be renewed efforts to get the question on the November 2024 California ballot. Grace Cathedral’s commitment to faith-based advocacy to End Slavery for Good by all means possible will continue.
On a more positive note, there are several bills on the Working Group’s radar that are advancing through the California legislature to address the challenges facing persons who leave prison with limited resources and a lack of means to support themselves and their families.
SB 1371 (Bradford) would require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to develop a 5-year plan to increase inmate compensation to the level where they have enough money for personal items, educational materials, and to communicate with their families.
The first days after someone is released from prison can be extremely challenging. Currently CDCR gives inmates $200 in “gate money” on the day they leave. This amount has not changed since 1973. If SB 1304 (Kamlager) is adopted, the release allowance will increase to $1300.
SB 936 (Glazer) would establish a residential Forestry Management Training Center in Northern California to train former inmates in forestry and vegetation management to reduce the risk of deadly wildfires. Graduates would be eligible for entry-level forestry positions throughout the state.
These bills have passed the California Senate with strong bipartisan support and are awaiting action in the Assembly. If you would like to get involved, contact your elected representatives (https://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/) and let them know what you think.