Picture of youth


Fair Sentencing for Youth

May 25,  2013


Dear Supporter of Fair Sentencing for Youth:

I'm writing with the great news that SB 260 passed out of committee and will be voted on by the California Senate next week! If it passes there, the bill goes to the Assembly in June. That will be a tougher road and we'll really need everyone's help.


On Wednesday this week, the father of a 7-year-old child killed by a stray gang gun-battle bullet, a woman whose sister was murdered by a young client she had counseled, and the father of a 21-year-old college student killed by a 14-year-old as he worked delivering pizza, all took the day off work and came to Sacramento to ask senators to pass SB 260. They believe every young person has the potential to grow up, mature, and give back to the community. Also with us were shining examples of that truth: Two men, who at age 16 were arrested and ultimately sentenced to prison for 15 and 20 years. They've been out for several years now. One just graduated from college last week. The other runs a program for turning around the lives of youth in juvenile hall. I can't really express what an honor it was to be with these five people and hear their commitment to ending violence and creating fair treatment for youth who make terrible mistakes. They went to meeting after meeting with senators. Sitting there with them, I watched the perspective and hearts of senators change. Really.


I wish I could describe every effort going on to pass this bill. What I want to convey is this: There's a place for you. We need you. And, every little bit helps. Your letter; your talking to a neighbor and getting him or her to write; your telling others that this bill is important. Last Monday a supporter got us on a Vietnamese language talk show; the week before a group of young people took letters door-to-door in their neighborhood; a woman translated support letters into Spanish for friends; a man told his coworkers his daughter was in prison and would benefit from this bill; and more.


Right now you can join with others to change an unfair system.

Together we can make it happen.

I'll be back in touch to let you know if SB 260 makes it out of the senate.


Elizabeth Calvin on behalf of the Fair Sentencing for Youth Coalition

Senior Advocate, Children's Rights  Division

Human Rights Watch

Tel 310.477.5540



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Keep up at our website: www.fairsentencingforyouth.org




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