Gov. Brown Signs Bills to End Sentencing of 14-And 15-Year-Olds in Adult Criminal Court, Support Exonerated People after Prison

Los Angeles Sentinel

By Sentinel News Service

Gov. Brown today signed two research-based criminal justice reforms to improve rehabilitation and reduce the odds of re-offending.

Senate Bill 1391 prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds from being tried as adults in criminal court and subsequently sent to adult prison. The bill reverses laws passed in the 1990s that allowed for sentencing the youngest teens to the adult criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 1050 extends services and support for exonerated people released from prison after their wrongful convictions are overturned. Since 1989, there have been a total of 192 exonerations in California. SB 1050 guarantees access to Medi-Cal, CalFresh and work training programs to assist exonerees to transition back to society.

SB 1050 and 1391 are part of the #EquityAndJustice package of bills jointly authored by Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) that Governor Brown signed over the past two years.

Today Governor Brown also signed SB 439, which excludes children age 11 and younger from juvenile court jurisdiction to  promote the rights, health and well-being of the child by curbing premature exposure to incarceration, and SB 1393, which return judicial discretion on sentencing related to five-year enhancements for serious felony convictions.

“The Equity and Justice bills signed by Gov. Brown make rehabilitation and community recovery the focus of our criminal justice system,” Lara said. “Thirty years of harsh sentencing laws resulted in overcrowded prisons without improving public safety. We need to be tough but smart on crime. With these laws, California is reducing mass incarceration through research-based reforms that will contribute to public safety.”

Continue reading.