No More Shackles: AB 2530 is SIGNED!

From: an email from Eveline Shen, Strong Families, confirming this:

Sept 28th 2012

Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB2530, which means that pregnant women can no longer be shackled in California’s jails and prisons. For more information about what this means and what’s ahead, please see this blog post by Karen Shain of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

This is an enormous victory–fought hard by many of our partners and allies.  We are so excited for that this step means, for women and families in California and beyond.

We are still waiting anxiously for the Governor to take action on other critical bills–especially AB889, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and AB2015, Calls for Kids.

We will write more next week about the important gains of this legislative session, but we wanted to share this great news with you right away.

Thanks so much for all you did to help make this a reality.  The thousands of emails that Governor Brown received let him know we were watching.

Thank you.

From Karen Shain (on the site of: Strong Families Movement):

By Karen Shain, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

Finally! After three years and countless petitions, letters, phone calls, votes, revotes, and two vetoes, Governor Brown has signed AB 2530, a bill that bans the most egregious forms of shackling of pregnant women in California’s state prisons, juvenile detention facilities and county jails.

At last! We have an answer for the pregnant women who write to Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) about having to wear chains around their bellies while going to court, about being shackled around their ankles while waiting to see a doctor, about standing in countless lines waiting to get on countless buses while handcuffed behind their backs: you are right. This is illegal. You should not be restrained in these ways if you are incarcerated in California.

I can’t wait to visit pregnant women at California Institution for Women (CIW) or one of our 58 county jails. We can rejoice together that this long, long battle has been won!

The coalition conference calls are going to change. No longer will we be talking about designing the next petition or support letter or legislative alert. No more legislative visits, searching for an author, co-author, supporter. No more tracking down potential opposition to make sure they are still neutral or (hopefully) in support of our bill.

This is clearly a time for celebration! And because the work took so long, there are so many of us who get to celebrate. The thousands of letter writers, hundreds of organizational supporters, dozens of organizational sponsors—we did it! Assembly Members Nancy Skinner, Toni Atkins, Holly Mitchell—you stepped up at the right time and we will always remember you.
And then, after all the celebrating, after all the thank you notes, after the tears of joy and slaps on our collective backs…then we have to get to work.

Because I have learned one really important lesson over the past decade that I have been doing legislative policy work—a good bill is only as good as its implementation. It took over five years for California’s counties to begin writing policies to conform to state law banning shackling of women during labor, delivery and recovery (see LSPC’s report, Stop Shackling). We must not allow county sheriffs, juvenile probation officers or state prison officials to wait five more years before shackling becomes only a memory in our state.

As of January 1, 2013, this is what the new law will be: NO PREGNANT WOMAN in California’s prisons, youth authority, county jails or juvenile detention facilities can be shackled around the belly, around the ankles or handcuffed behind the back DURING THEIR ENTIRE PREGNANCY.  And once a woman is in labor, delivery or recovery…OR IF A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL ORDERS IT…they cannot be restrained at all, provided that there is not a pressing security issue.

At our office, we are starting right now to find out what pregnant women who are jailed in California are facing. Come January, when the new law goes into effect, we will begin the work of implementation. And we need the help of every incarcerated pregnant woman in our state as well as every family member…you are the ones who know what is happening.  We ask everyone who is released from a woman’s prison or jail to let us know if you witness violations of the new law.

It took a lot of people to get this legislation passed. It will take at least as many to get it implemented. Let us not lose a minute.   It’s now in all our hands to STOP SHACKLING PREGNANT WOMEN!

Please email me at if you hear of or see any violations to the new law.


Summary of Propositions, State Bills and Donating your Vote

From an email by Charlie from SF Pride At Work & the Prison Abolition Working Group (we asked the email sender from O4P for permission to post): 

Most the information below has been gleened from various email lists / websites / organizations / etc that i’m sure most on O4P folks are familiar with but its nice to have it all in one place sometimes.

Below you will find info on:

1. Propositions 34, 35, & 36
2. Cal State Bills
3. info on how to Donate your Vote

1. Propositions

Prop 34

* eliminates lethal injections
* converts all lethal injection death row inmates to LOWP  (life in prison without parole)
* LOWP inmates mandated to work, with earnings to the state
* the state would no longer pay for appeals for those on death row b/c LOWP sentences are not considered “death sentences”
* law enforcement exigences would receive a one-time infusion of $100-million dollars to “solve homicide and rape cases”

Kevin Cooper Statement & that other guy’s statement..

Those serving on death row will shift to life in prison without possibility of parole term. These and future inmates will be put to work with earnings going to “any victim restitution fines or orders against them,” according to the official state summary. Additionally, a one-time $100-million fund will help law enforcement agencies solve more homicide and rape cases. If the prop succeeds, it will become effective the day after the election.

Under the state’s current criminal justice system it would cost taxpayers between $5 billion and $7 billion more to execute a prisoner than it would to carry out a sentence of Life Without Parole because current system covers costs for appeals for those on death row.

Woodford is the former director of the California Department of Corrections and the past Warden of San Quentin. She is the official proponent of Prop 34. “California voters have an historic opportunity this November to prevent the waste of that $5-7 billion, and to use the money to catch more murderers and rapists instead, in order to keep our families and communities safe,” Woodford said.

CA’s Death Row houses 729 inmates. CA’s last execution took place 6 yrs ago. Then a federal judge brought the process to a halt when he ruled that the state’s method of execution violated the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. (Evidence brought forth in the lawsuit indicated a high number of botched executions at San Quentin, where executioners administered lethal drugs to inmates in a small, dimly lit former gas chamber. Questions surfaced about executioners’ training and qualifications. The leader of the lethal injection team had previously been suspended for smuggling drugs into the prison.)

CDCR then built a new lethal injection chamber at San Quentin and rewrote its protocol, adding a step in which lethal injection team members would gently shake an inmate after they gave them a sedative to make sure sleep had set in before administering a painful, heart-stopping drug. Last year a judge threw out that protocol, saying the state violated its own rule-writing process when it failed to adequately consider public comment on the process.

The judge pointed out the state’s decision to stick with a three-drug lethal injection process over a one-drug procedure that many consider more humane and less prone to mistakes. (They also don’t have one of the drugs they need for the cocktail: pancuronium bromide, the second drug in the series (designed to paralyze the inmate), it’s no longer manufactured in the US)

Earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown instructed CDCR to pursue a single-drug protocol. Lawyers for the state say it has complied. During previous hearings on this case, a consultant to the department testified that the state has written and tested at San Quentin a single-drug protocol.

But Goldman did not know when CDCR would begin the official rule-writing process that would allow that protocol to become a law. He estimated that process could take about 10 months once it’s started.

OHIO just had 2ND DEATH ROW EXONERATION IN 9 MONTHS, 141st in the Nation – this would stop if prop 34 passes as prisoners would no longer have support for appeals!

John Donohue, a Stanford law professor, who studied how capital punishment was imposed in every Connecticut murder case from 1973 (when the state passed a death penalty law) to 2007.

His analysis dispelled the erroneous claim that only the “worst of the worst” among criminals are given the death penalty. Instead, he found that the penalty has been applied with “arbitrariness and discrimination” based on race and geography, and that death row inmates are indistinguishable from other violent offenders who escaped capital punishment.

Prop 35


· Further criminalizes sex workers, most of whom are women (majority mothers) and young, transgender and immigrant people. It can be used as a pretext to label sex workers themselves as pimps and traffickers.

Prop 35 will discourage sex workers from seeking help when they are subjected to force and violence for fear of being caught in the criminal legal system.

· Targets undocumented sex workers for arrest and deportation through police sweeps under the guise of “searching” for trafficked victims who are minors.

· Criminalizes anyone that associates with a minor involved in prostitution regardless of whether there was any force or coercion involved.

· Increases police power to detain and interrogate people under the pretext of looking for trafficked minors and increases funding for law enforcement training to find traffickers.

· Channels money to victims’ services and non-profit agencies that work hand-in-hand with law enforcement, ICE and Homeland Security, giving those agencies a vested interest in the fines that are charged to those convicted of trafficking.

· Requires all people convicted of trafficking to register as sex offenders for life.

· Monitors the internet use of all those convicted as traffickers for life.

· Costs the state of California several million dollars to enforce.


Prop 36 – 3 strikes


Revise the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent”.

Authorize re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if their third strike conviction was not serious or violent and if the judge determines that the re-sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.

Continue to impose a life sentence penalty if the third strike conviction was for “certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession”.

Maintain the life sentence penalty for felons with “non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.”


If Proposition 36 is approved by voters, approximately 3,000 convicted felons who are currently serving life terms under the Three Strikes law, whose third strike conviction was for a nonviolent crime, will be able to petition the court for a new, reduced, sentence.[2] Reducing the sentences of these current prisoners could result in saving the state somewhere between $150 to $200 million a year.[3]

Altogether, about 8,800 prisoners are currently serving life terms in California prisons under the 1994 law.[4]
California spends up to six times more on prisoners per year than on K-12 students. With the three-strikes law, more prisoners are being incarcerated for longer periods of times and for lesser charges. For instance, if a person has two serious felonies against him or her and commits another felony, serious or not, such as petty theft of more than $950, that person can be sentenced to life in jail. This law has created a substantial burden on the state’s budget, shifting funds from education to our prisons.

2. CA State Bills:

Youth LWOP – Senate Bill 9 in California


This bill will give people who were sentenced as teens to life without parole a chance to have their cases reviewed after they have served 25 years.


SB 9 made it through the state Legislature and is now on Governor Brown’s desk! It is now up to the governor to sign or veto the bill. We are very concerned about whether he will sign it. Opposition to the bill is well-funded and working hard for a veto.

Phone calls and letters to the Governor’s office could make all the difference at this crucial moment. Please take just two minutes to call the governor’s office and send a letter from your organization, church, school and/or community group(s). “Please sign SB 9!” Governor Brown’s phone number is: (916) 445-2841. It’s a quick and easy call!

Unshackling Pregnant Women in Prisons


This bill adds a section to the penal code stating: An inmate known to be pregnant or in recovery after delivery shall not be restrained by the use of leg irons, waist chains,or handcuffs behind the body.


Currently, incarcerated pregnant women in California’s jails and prisons are shackled in excessively restrictive ways.

Gov. Brown vetoed a similar bill last year that had unanimously passed the legislature, so he needs to hear from you today.  AB 2530 addresses Governor Brown’s veto by clarifying language and prohibiting the most dangerous forms of shackling.

Media Access


The bill would restore the conditions that existed before 1996, the year that state corrections officials cut down on reporters’ ability to report directly on prison circumstances.


California Senate passed AB 1270 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano today, sending the bill on prison media openness to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

“With passage of AB 1270 legislators have voted for transparent and accountable reporting of the state’s 32 prisons and the more than 130 prisoners locked inside their walls,” said Nancy Mullane, a prize-winning reporter and author on prisons. “With the governor’s signature, no longer will professional, credentialed, hard-working journalists be forced to interview whichever inmate the prison authorities make available to them. For the first time in more than two decades, journalists will be permitted by law to request an interview with an inmate by name.”

Following passage, the Governor has until September 30 to sign the measure.

3. For those not voting


Vote for the Vote is a vote donation program for the 2012 US presidential elections. Vote for the Vote helps registered voters give away their votes to individuals who have been robbed of right to vote by state laws restricting access to the polls.


Millions of Americans will be unable to cast their ballots this election season because of state laws that make voting difficult or impossible for certain groups of people. In the swing state of Florida alone over 1.5 million people are unable to vote because of these laws. Nationwide, 13% of African Americans have lost the right to vote, and in several states that number is as high as 20%.