We can reduce that number.
The ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and the ACLU of Southern California are working to reduce jail and prison populations in the state. In particular, the affiliates support pretrial reform initiatives and are advocating for prosecutorial accountability and transparency. Their reform efforts include:
- Advocating for a pretrial system that ensures detention decisions are based on evidence and facts as applied in a hearing with due process, and that detention is limited to the narrow public safety exceptions allowed under Article 1, Section 12 of the state’s constitution.
- Encouraging lawmakers to create prosecutorial guidelines for charging and plea-bargaining decisions that rely on the least punitive options while ensuring accountability and safety.
- Pushing district attorneys to refuse to charge minors as adults, decline to seek life without parole sentences, and prioritize the diversion of people to community-based substance use disorder and mental health treatment.
- Supporting reforms that ensure no Californian is detained pretrial due to their inability to pay bail or for pretrial services.
- Lobbying the Legislature to create incentives for counties to divert people with disabilities from jail into community-based programs.
- Promoting further reform of the juvenile justice system that champions diversion and restorative justice and seeks to eliminate the use of confinement, which should be an absolute last resort.
- Pushing all district attorneys’ offices to track and publish all their prosecution data, and create units to review wrongful or unethical convictions.
- Encouraging all district attorneys’ offices to vigorously utilize A.B. 2942, a resentencing law that allows prosecutors to revisit past sentences and reduce the prison population.
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