Your Signature Needed - The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act 2016
Sunday is the last opportunity to sign the petition for putting The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act 2016 on the ballot. Members of our Social Justice Committee will have copies available before and after Sunday's service for you to sign. Two of the biggest changes this initiative proposes is to incentivize rehabilitation and education programs (rewarding prisoners who complete these programs) and to have judges, not prosecutors, decide whether children will be tried as adults. Since California has a cap on numbers of adults in prison this proposed Act is designed to ensure that those who are released will not go back to a life of crime, and reduces the number of children serving time in adult prisons, making room for more adults. It seems this is one political action a lot of people might agree on.
Our congregational read two years ago was Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow, and this year it was Bryan Stephenson's Just Mercy. Both of these books took a hard look at the criminal justice and penal systems in the USA, but left us wondering what we can do personally to act for change. Additionally, delegates at last summer's UU General Assembly voted on a resolution to support Black Lives Matter, which included encouragement of member congregations to work towards reform and abolition of the current systems. It includes the statement that: "No matter who you are, black lives matter, and a system of fair, transformative, and restorative justice that is accountable to communities is something to which each of us has a right."
Signing the petition to put The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act on the ballot is an easy step to take. Only those registered to vote may sign. Please take care to only sign the page designated for YOUR COUNTY in which you are registered to vote. And of course, if you already signed the petition elsewhere, please do not sign it again.