Last year Assemblymember Ash Kalra authored a landmark bill that addresses racial discrimination in criminal sentencing and convictions. The California Racial Justice Act, which will prohibit racial discrimination in convictions and sentences. The act will prohibit it in all convictions and sentences. It also creates a process to challenge racial bias in trial or following conviction.
“California’s Civil Rights law clearly prohibits discrimination in housing, in employment, and public accommodation,” he explained last year. “But nowhere in California law is there a clear statement that racial discrimination will not be tolerated in our criminal justice system.
One compromise he made to get the bill passed was there was no look back mechanism. This year he introduced AB 2542 which allow for the act to apply retroactively.
He explained, “While passing last year’s bill was a major step towards addressing institutionalized and implicit racial bias in our courts, the work is not done. It is incumbent upon us to make sure that all Californians are afforded an opportunity to pursue justice by making the measure retroactive—ensuring that these new protections are rightfully extended to those who have already been harmed by unfair convictions and sentences.”
Listen as the Assemblymember explains the Racial Justice Act and why it’s needed.
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