Policy Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: East Bay Community Law Center attorneys, law students, and community partners advance legislation to end criminal justice fees in Alameda County

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 |

Tomorrow, the Alameda County Probation Department, Public Defenders Office, and the Sheriff’s Office will testify in front of the Public Protection Committee to urge the adoption of legislation that will eliminate criminal justice administration fees in Alameda County. The East Bay Community Law Center, a legal services provider serving low-income residents in Alameda County, along with the Policy Advocacy Clinic of U.C. Berkeley Law School, Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Urban Strategies Council, have been actively advocating for the elimination of these fees.

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Inmates help battle California’s wildfires. But when freed, many can’t get firefighting jobs

Friday, September 7, 2018 | ,

But in a state ravaged by wildfires, where firefighters’ overtime costs are soaring and backup from Australia had to be called in to help fight the Carr Fire near Redding, advocates for the formerly incarcerated like Vinuta Naik, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, have a hard time understanding why firefighting agencies are turning away formerly incarcerated people with hands-on experience.

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The Only Winners In California’s Fines And Fees System Are Private Debt Collectors

Monday, July 2, 2018 | ,

Furthermore, collection agencies are not bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers from various forms of threat and harassment, because court debts are considered “involuntary.” As a result of this loophole, said Miguel Soto, an attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, “We’ve had clients tell us that the [debt collector] they’re dealing with is threatening them with violence, imprisonment, or, in some occasions, deportation.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making fine reduction more accessible to low-income residents.

Friday, June 29, 2018 | ,

Monday, June 25, 2018: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA:   The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making the Court’s fine reduction program more accessible to low-income residents.

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Few Winners When Courts Privatize the Collection of Public Debts

Monday, June 4, 2018 | ,

The clinic is run by the Center’s Clean Slate Practice, which focuses on “the decriminalization of poverty,” according to Brandon Greene, one of its lead attorneys. Some of Greene’s colleagues do post-conviction work, helping to seal arrest records, reduce probation, and help people who’ve been denied employment because of criminal backgrounds. But Greene’s clients are facing a particular set of issues: court-ordered debt related to things like traffic violations and parking tickets.

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New California laws would make it easier for ex-prisoners to get better jobs

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | ,

“A lot of (prison) programs actually train people how to do these jobs, how to have a career in this, without telling them they’ll be banned from getting the license,” said Jael Myrick, a Richmond city councilman and program coordinator of the Clean Slate Program at the East Bay Community Law Center, which is sponsoring the bills. “That’s the issue we’re trying to fix.”

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Alameda County Superior Court Reverses License Suspensions for Nearly 54,000 Drivers Who Couldn’t Afford to Pay Traffic Fines

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 | ,

Phan worked with staff attorney Theresa Zhen for months before he was finally able to get his license back, just before the passage of AB 103.  “None of these things happen in a vacuum,” Zhen said. “It takes a movement of lawyers, community groups, and people who are brave enough to tell their story.”

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Senate Bill 393 Signed By Governor Brown

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | ,

SAN FRANCISCO—California Governor Edmund G. Brown signed Senate Bill 393 on October 11, the Consumer Arrest Record Equity (C.A.R.E.) Act, to seal arrest records and halt barriers to employment and housing for individuals arrested, but never convicted of a crime. The CARE Act, which was signed into law by the governor, was authored by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and was sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.  The law goes into effect January 1, 2018.

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Coalition Hails Governor For Signing Historic Juvenile Justice Reform Bill, And Calls For An Immediate End To All Juvenile Fee Assessments And Collections

Thursday, October 12, 2017 | ,

SACRAMENTO—Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 190, a major, bipartisan juvenile justice reform bill that will improve youth rehabilitation and increase public safety. Effective January 1, 2018, SB 190 ends the harmful, unlawful and costly practice of charging administrative fees to families with youth in the juvenile system.

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