California Assemblymember Introduces Restorative Injustice Integrity Act – ‘Action Towards Healing California’  

Via Unsplash.com

By Emeline Crowder 

SACRAMENTO, CA –  This past week, California Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood), introduced AB 2833, The Restorative Justice Integrity Act, written, McKinnor said, to safeguard the integrity of Restorative Justice processes statewide.

In a peer reviewed study for Econometrica, it was concluded “Restorative Justice programs are effective tools for addressing conflict and harm within communities.”

However, in order for these programs to be effective, as noted in an R Street Institute paper, “the ability for participants to speak freely without fear of repercussion is essential for the success of these processes.”

AB 2833 text states it “seeks to address critical gaps in the current legal framework by providing comprehensive admissibility protections for people who participate in these Restorative Justice processes.”

As noted in a statement from the Centinela Youth Services, “Currently, the absence of clear legal protections leaves individuals hesitant to engage fully…undermining its potential for healing and restoration.”

In the past, as Abby Bordin, Restorative Justice facilitator at Community Works, a co-sponsor of AB 2833, notes, “We’ve been able to temporarily negotiate protections but, without comprehensive statewide protections, our program couldn’t operate and have the same impact.”

According to Assemblymember McKinnor, also Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Restorative Justice, the bill is a “crucial step towards ensuring that Restorative Justice processes can operate effectively in California. By protecting the communications of participants, we can create an environment where individuals feel safe to engage fully in the healing and accountability process.”

Anoinette Ratcliffe,  executive director of Initiate Justice, another of the bill’s co-sponsors, notes “we must foster a society where healing is essential to justice. Protecting restorative justice sessions under the law demonstrates a commitment to do that. (The bill) “isn’t just about protecting people. It is about nurturing a culture of healing and accountability where these journeys to reconciliation are respected.”

AB 2833 is part of a wave towards advancing Restorative Justice across the state and country, said supporters, arguing it draws “inspiration from successful models in fifteen other states, including Illinois’ SB 64” and “represents a significant step forward in advancing Restorative Justice processes statewide and preserving their effectiveness.”

AB 2833 is sponsored by members of the California Restorative Justice Policy Coalition, including the American Friends Service Committee, Californians for Safety and Justice, Community Works and Initiate Justice as noted in the press release. It is set to come before the California State Assembly in Spring of 2024.

About The Author

Emeline is a third year undergraduate at UC Davis, studying International Relations and French. She is passionate about law, the criminal justice system and international politics, and hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy in the future. In her free time, Emeline loves to read, craft and hike.

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