CA Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Bills Addressing Wrongful Convictions and Mental Health Pass Key Senate Committee

By Scott Wiener – Sent to me personally, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Michael Apfel 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Two criminal justice reform bills, SB 97 and SB 513, written by Senator Scott Wiener (D-SF), were approved this week by the Senate Public Safety Committee in a bipartisan effort.

The Reducing Recidivism Through Therapy Act takes a rehabilitative approach to reducing recidivism rates, offering mental health facilities to the incarcerated. The bill comes at a time where the United States has one of the highest incarceration rates per capita globally and a recidivism rate of about 50 percent, according to the Harvard Political Review.

“We must take bold, evidence-based steps to reduce California’s recidivism rate, which is among the worst in the country. By providing therapy, we can help incarcerated Californians heal and rejoin society equipped to contribute without resorting to criminal behavior. SB 513 provides care that is proven to reduce destructive behaviors, Sen. Wiener said.

The Righting Wrongful Convictions Act, giving assistance to those claiming wrongful convictions, passed unanimously. An ACLU study found there have been over 200 wrongful convictions since 1989, costing decades of innocent people’s free lives and more than $129 million taxpayer dollars.

“When a single innocent person is convicted and incarcerated, it undermines justice for all of us. I’m heartened that this bill has passed the Public Safety Committee, and is one step closer to providing justice to the innocent and reducing the waste of taxpayer dollars prosecuting people that even prosecutors agree are innocent,” Wiener said.


About The Author

Michael Apfel is a second year at USC majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Sports Media Industries. He plans on law school after his undergraduate studies looking to work in social justice.

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