By Victoria Lopez
People in Yolo County want real reform in the criminal justice system. No more mass incarceration. No more unconsciously biased juries. No more criminalization of our youth and making a pipeline to prison for them. Without appropriate education or diversionary programs, youth who have been in trouble will resort back to their old ways when they are released back into the community. This does not make communities safer. The programs need to be utilized and not just talked about.
My daughter is 17 years old, and I had to strongly fight the current DA’s office to grant her access to WRAP services after an incident when she was 15. These services made a huge difference in my daughter’s life. Eventually, she met all the requirements of rehabilitation: she graduated from high school early, completed 1 year of WRAP, completed counseling, and ultimately was awarded most improved student at her graduation ceremony. Despite all this, she was transferred to adult court and received a felony strike on her adult record.
Like many teens, she made a mistake, but hers will follow her and prohibit her ability to thrive as an adult. My daughter wants to give back to the community and get a good job. In fact, she recently got a good job but was forced to quit because she could not pass the background check. I fear that she will have to spend her whole life paying for her teenage mistakes and that her rehabilitation efforts may fall to the wayside.
DA Candidate Dean Johansson sees the impacts that programs like WRAP can have on an individual in order to help them towards rehabilitation and a path forward. He also understands that youth are most likely to respond positively to rehabilitation programs and that we should be emphasizing their use—not limiting access to them. Dean Johansson is leading a powerful grassroots movement in our county. I’m voting for Dean Johansson, and I hope you will too. Yolo County needs change now