Newsom signed AB 1950 into law on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2020, which will now limit adult probation sentence maximums to one year for misdemeanors and two years for felonies. The new law is expected to help hundreds of thousands of individuals exit the criminal justice system earlier and, hopefully, permanently.
It also represents REFORM Alliance’s first major legislative victory with hopes that it will be adopted by other states in some form moving forward. It will be particularly impactful for African Americans, who have the highest rate of recidivism in the country, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.
MAJOR REFORM VICTORY! California enacts #AB1950.
— REFORM Alliance (@REFORM) October 1, 2020
REFORM Alliance is a criminal justice reform group co-founded in 2017 by Jay-Z, Meek Mill and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin and supported by a host of dignitaries, who included New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and billionaire Robert Smith. Renowned CNN contributor Van Jones serves as the CEO.
Jay-Z also conveyed his appreciation to Newson on his Team Roc’s Twitter page:
Probation will now be capped at 1 year for misdemeanors and 2 years for most felonies. The changes AB1950 enacts will help make communities safer and save money. Thank you Governor @GavinNewsom for your leadership!
— Team Roc (@teamroc) October 1, 2020
Newsom hopes this new law will help spur more positive reforms within the judicial system and in law enforcement.
“Americans across the country took to the streets this summer rightfully demanding more and better of our criminal justice system – and of ourselves,” Newsom said in a statement posted on the governor’s office website. “We heard those calls for action loud and clear and today are advancing reforms to improve policing practices by ending the carotid hold and requiring independent investigations in officer-involved shootings. We are also taking important steps to break the school-to-prison pipeline. Still, we can and must do more.”