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REFORM Alliance scores major legal victory with new California probation law

“This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much needed change throughout the country,” JAY-Z said Wednesday (Sept. 30).

JAY-Z, Meek Mill Getty

JAY-Z and Meek Mill’s REFORM Alliance has scored its first major legal victory in the form of a new California law. On Wednesday (Sept. 30), Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1950 into law. REFORM Alliance heavily pushed for the legislation, which makes substantial strides in probation reform.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove, seeks to lower recidivism rates by shortening probation terms in the state. Under the new law, the probation period for most misdemeanor cases will now be one year rather than three, and two years instead of five for most felonies.

“By signing AB 1950 into law, Governor Newsom has further cemented his legacy as a champion for justice, redemption and opportunity,” REFORM Alliance CEO Van Jones said in a statement.

“In a year that has been so challenging and difficult for so many, this reform marks a bright spot that will lead to better outcomes for individuals and families across California. I cannot thank the Governor enough for supporting this legislation. I look forward to working with him to make the measure even stronger and more meaningful in the coming year.”

While pushing for the legislation, REFORM pointed out that California taxpayers were spending over $4,400 annually on the state’s 300,000 probationers. Furthermore, California reportedly spends about $2 billion each year to imprison people for parole violations. $235 million of that, the organization said, is spent on sending people back to jail for “victimless, technical violations, like coming home late from work.” REFORM hopes the government savings from the new law will be reinvested into anti-recidivism programs.

“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in signing AB1950 — the most transformative probation bill in this country to date,” JAY-Z said. “This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much needed change throughout the country.”

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Newsom signed a law that will begin to develop a plan for reparations for Black California residents. See REFORM’s announcement on Instagram below.

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