Criminal Justice

Fighting to end discriminatory practices in our criminal justice system by working toward a system that prioritizes restorative justice over mass incarceration.

Exciting News!

The Racial Justice Act, AB 2542 (Kalra), was heard by the Public Safety Committee on August 7th and passed! We want to thank everyone who submitted letters of support and all who have rallied behind this bill since it was introduced. We have some exciting news!

What is the Racial Justice Act:

The Racial Justice Act prohibits the state from using discriminating means to seek or obtain a conviction or sentence. In the Act, we reject treating discrimination as harmless, and provide guidance on how to address issues of discrimination in the courtroom.

AB 2542 addresses racially discriminatory behavior in the courtroom in a variety of ways, including:

  • Explicit bias against the defendant on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin – for example, racist texts from a police officer involved in the case.
  • Bias at trial – such as comparing the defendant to an animal in closing arguments.
  • Bias in jury selection – removing all or nearly all Black, Indigenous, people of color jurors from the trial.
  • Disparities in charging –  more severe charging of members of a race, ethnicity, or nationality.
  • Disparities in sentencing – addressing the systemic over-representation of Black, Brown,  people among incarcerated folk.

How the Racial Justice Act would help:

This bill would allow an individual to challenge this type of discrimination. It would help correct the McClesky v Kemp Supreme Court decision which places the burden-of-proof on the person experiencing discrimination to prove how it was deliberately against them. The Racial Justice Act states that the act of discrimination itself is evidence of bias and creates fault in the legal proceedings that needs to be addressed.

How you can get involved today!

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Now, as the bill goes to Senate Appropriations, we need your support. Here’s what you can do to further lift up AB 2542 this week.

Call your Senator:

You can locate the Senator for you district here and express your support for AB 2542 using the following call script:

“Hello, my name is [your name], I live in [your county] and I’m sharing my support for AB 2542, also known as the Racial Justice Act. Thanks, and be well!”

Take Action on Social Media:

You can post on social media using our social media toolkit here. You can find out more about the Racial Justice Act here.

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We believe that California is strongest when we come together to make our voices heard. Let’s work together to fight the injustices that plague our state. Stay connected with us – tell us your ideas, participate in our “calls to action” and be among the first to receive exclusive event updates.