In November 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, the most sweeping incarceration-reduction ballot initiative in state history. The “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” reclassified six common, low-level crimes from felony to misdemeanor punishments. By passing this landmark legislation, voters declared an end to long periods of incarceration for low-level crimes and championed investing the resulting savings to schools, victim services and treatment.
The measure is retroactive, meaning anyone currently incarcerated can petition for release, and anyone in the state with a criminal record for these felony convictions can have the felony removed from their record. Since its passage, 13,000 people have been released and resentenced and an estimated 160,000 requests have been filed to have sentences reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. This year an estimated $156 million in savings could be realized and long term that amount could increase to $203 million in jail costs and $94.5 million in prison costs. In the next five years it could potentially shift $1 billion from state corrections to K-12 school programs and mental health and drug treatment according to the ACLU.
But the Proposition has not been without its critics. Some in law enforcement and in the media are linking an increase in property crimes to the measure and stating that police are no longer able to arrest people for petty crime, while supporters point out that there is no real data supporting that claim.
So where does implementation stand? What is the real impact of Prop. 47 on crime or are these just diversions? What will it take to reach the hundreds of thousands of Californians who can stand to benefit from the law’s promise? What’s the real expectation of savings and how do we insure that they are used correctly?
During this policy presentation will hear from Lenore Anderson, Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice which, together with their sister 501(c)4 organization, Vote Safe, a project of The Advocacy Fund, played a major role in the development and passage of the measure. She will be joined by Susan Burton Executive Director of A New Way of Life, a reentry project in Los Angeles, and one of thousands of individuals who have benefited from the record change opportunity. Tim Silard, President of the Rosenberg Foundation, an instrumental partner in reforming the state's approach to criminal justice and public safety will bring a funder perspective to the conversation.
Now, as we look back over the past year and look forward to the ongoing implementation efforts, we’ll dive into what’s on the horizon for criminal justice reform in California and across the country.
Come Join Us
During the webinar you'll learn about:
- What’s happened since passage of the measure,
- Where there are still issues to address and the role nonprofits and philanthropy can play in supporting effective implementation.
- What’s the next battleground for criminal justice reform
This program is free and open to current SCG, NCG, SDG and CalNonprofits members.
- Lenore Anderson, Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice
- Susan Burton, Executive Director, A New Way of Life
- Timothy Silard, President, Rosenberg Foundation
Moderator: Ellen LaPointe, President & CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
Panel will be proceeded by a policy update from Nancy Berlin, Policy Director for CalNonprofits
The California Policy Forum is a series of webinars presented in partnership with CalNonprofits and California Philanthropy (a Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers and Southern California Grantmakers collaboration).
Speaker BiosLenore Anderson is Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice, a nonprofit project of the Tides Center that is working to replace prison and justice system waste with common sense solutions that create safe neighborhoods and save public dollars. Lenore oversees the organization's strategic direction, partnerships, policy and advocacy work, including a network of 6,000 crime survivors across the state committed to criminal justice reform. As an attorney with extensive experience working to improve public safety, Lenore is also a regular commentator in the media and at events about challenges within our prison and justice system -- and the smart justice policies and practices that can overcome those challenges.
Lenore was also coauthor and campaign chair of Proposition 47, a California ballot initiative passed by voters in November 2014 that is projected to reduce incarceration and reallocate those savings into mental health, drug treatment, K-12 programs and victim services.
Before launching Californians for Safety and Justice, Lenore was Chief of Policy and Chief of the Alternative Programs Division at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, where she spearheaded initiatives to reduce recidivism and improve public safety. She also crafted local and state legislation to aid victims of domestic violence, protect violent crime witnesses, reduce elementary school truancy and reduce recidivism among people convicted of nonviolent crimes. Lenore serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Center for Youth Wellness, an initiative to reduce the health impacts of chronic stress and trauma on urban youth. She holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law and a B.A. from UC Berkeley, lives with her family in Oakland.Susan Burton is the Executive Director A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) which provides resources such as housing, case management, employment and pro bono legal services, and empowers through advocacy, leadership and community organizing on behalf of people who struggle to rebuild their lives after dwelling in the underworld of incarceration.
After Susan’s five-year old son was accidentally hit and killed by a car, she numbed her grief through alcohol and drugs. As a result, she became trapped in the criminal justice system for nearly two decades before finding freedom and sobriety in 1997.
Drawing on her personal experiences, Susan founded ANWOL in 1998, dedicating her life to helping others break the cycle of incarceration. She has earned numerous awards and honors, and is widely recognized as a leader in the criminal justice reform movement. A past Soros Justice Fellow, Women’s Policy Institute Fellow and Community Fellow under the California Wellness Foundation’s Violence Prevention Initiative, Susan has served on the state’s Little Hoover Commission and the Gender Responsive Strategies Task Force.
Susan is co-founder of All of Us or None (AOUON) and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement (FICPM), both national grassroots civil rights movements comprised of formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and community allies. In collaboration with UCLA’s Critical Race Studies Program, Susan launched the Employment Rights Re-Entry Legal Clinic which has grown to be the largest of its kind in Southern California.
For her work, Susan was named a CNN Top Ten Hero in 2010 and the prestigious Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In recognition of her leadership, she was appointed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas as member of the Los Angeles County Sybil Brand Commission for Institutional Inspections. In this role she is authorized to inspect
Los Angeles County correctional facilities and advocate for the health and well-being of people housed in the facilities.
Susan was named 2014 recipient of the James Irvine Leadership Award for “improving the lives of thousands of Californians through strategies that are responsive, collaborative and forward-looking.” In 2015, on the 50th Anniversary of Selma and the Voting Rights Act, Susan Burton was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of eighteen New Civil Rights Leaders in the nation.
Ellen LaPointe is the President and CEO of Northern California Grantmakers, a nonprofit organization that leverages the power of association and community to advance the collective interests of its members and catalyze the impact of philanthropy in Northern California.
Ellen has held executive and senior management positions in the nonprofit sector for over twenty years. She has expertise in organizational leadership, strategy development and implementation, partnership cultivation, fund development, communications, financial management, and program oversight.
Ellen was an executive management consultant to several philanthropic, nonprofit, and social enterprise clients in 2014. Prior to that, she was Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at HopeLab, a health and technology-focused private operating foundation founded by Board chair Pam Omidyar. There, she cultivated private and public sector engagements to increase HopeLab’s institutional resources, and to elevate the visibility and amplify the impact of HopeLab’s work. Ellen also served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at HopeLab.
Before joining HopeLab, Ellen was Executive Director of Project Inform, a national AIDS treatment information/advocacy organization. She also practiced law at a large firm and was Director of Clinical Research at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
Timothy P. Silard is the President of the Rosenberg Foundation and since joining the Foundation has led the development of criminal justice reform as a core grantmaking focus. The foundation has partnered with a number of other funders to create a new affinity group focused on criminal justice reform, Funders for Safety and Justice in California. FSJC includes the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, and others. Together with members of FSJC, the Rosenberg Foundation has helped spearhead Californians for Safety and Justice, a new campaign designed to replace the state’s overreliance on incarceration with common sense solutions that create safe neighborhoods, help families thrive and save public dollars. In addition, the foundation has created a network of county-based reentry councils around the state, is supporting a new constituency-building initiative around children and youth exposed to violence, and launched an initiative to reduce the incarceration of women in California.
Under Mr. Silard’s leadership, the foundation also is resourcing innovative new solutions in the areas of immigrant rights and integration, immigrant workers rights and civic participation. New efforts in these areas include: dramatically increasing giving to advance immigration reform; building the organizing and leadership capacity of California’s DREAM movement, including the launch of California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, a new statewide association of organizations led by immigrant youth; seeding a new agricultural product certification system that aims to mobilize retailers and consumers to improve working conditions for farmworkers while reducing food safety risks and pesticide use; and partnering with the California Civic Participation Funders Roundtable to build the progressive infrastructure in San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Mr. Silard joined the Rosenberg Foundation from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, where he served as Chief of Policy, developing reforms in criminal justice, civil rights and immigrants' rights. Mr. Silard distinguished himself by launching the nation's first civil rights division in a local prosecutor's office, designing model reentry programs that have proven to sharply reduce recidivism, drafting and advocating for state and local legislation in the areas of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, expanding access to services for immigrants and low-income families and other public safety policy innovations. Mr. Silard also was a leader of San Francisco’s nationally replicated approach to addressing commercial sexual exploitation, which won the Ford Foundation’s Innovations in American Government Award.
He previously was HOPE VI Director for the Corporation for National Service, where he served on the Community Enterprise Board and White House Urban Policy Working Group. Earlier in his career, Mr. Silard served as a Skadden Fellow at the Income Rights Project and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa.
Mr. Silard earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his law degree from Stanford Law School. He is recognized as an expert in racial justice, sentencing reform and urban policy, and as an advocate for children and youth. He has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Huffington Post, The Advocate and other publications.