Legislative Updates

Support for 2015 Legislation

Californians for Safety and Justice was proud to support several pieces of legislation (and budget proposals) in 2015:

SB 176 (Mitchell) – Protecting Child Witnesses. For children 13 years or younger, testifying in open court about a violent crime can be a traumatic experience. California already provides protections, such as testifying via closed-circuit television, for child victims, but the law is unclear on whether those protections extend to child witnesses. This bill will clarify that child witnesses who testify about a violent crime are eligible for the same protections.    

SB 518 (Leno) – Trauma Recovery Center Grants. Victims of crime often experience long-term effects, including trauma and other mental health conditions. Left unaddressed, these conditions can impact victims’ ability to recover and may lead to further financial and health problems, including substance abuse, depression and further victimization. Current services for victims can be confusing to access and often only offer short-time recovery support. The Trauma Recovery Center model takes a more comprehensive approach to healing the person in a welcoming and safe environment that provides long-term support. This bill creates specific standards for potential recipients of TRC grants, and creates a TRC Center of Excellence to provide training, technical assistance and ongoing program evaluations.

SB 382 (Lara) – Youth Transfer Bill. In certain circumstances, California allows teenagers to be tried as adults. Laws permitting this were enacted before advances in research about child brain development (affecting their actions) and before recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions limited certain justice system policies and practices because of this new understanding about brain development. This bill will align California’s legal process with scientific research and recent court decisions by giving trial judges discretion to send minors back to juvenile court if the young person would be better served in the juvenile system. It also clarifies the factors a judge considers when determining if a child should be tried in the juvenile or adult system.

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