NO to incarcerating people with substance use disorders; Unrig the Supreme Court
Note: if you haven’t yet seen the message from Indivisible’s Black Caucus on the eve of the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, it’s linked here. Content warning: The linked message includes extended and detailed discussion of police murders, police brutality, and violence against Black and brown bodies.
Once again this week, we’re trying to stop the expansion of the carceral state right here in Yolo County. Last week, we asked the Yolo Board of Supervisors to vote no on a pilot program that would expand incarceration for people suspected of substance use disorders who were convicted of a non-violent felony. Human Rights Watch and a myriad of addiction treatment experts had all came forward in opposition to the pilot program outlined in bill AB1542. Not only is there no evidence that this type of coerced treatment works, it can actually be damaging, fostering distrust of treatment providers and increasing the chance of overdose.
gnoring the opposition of experts and the voices of the community, the Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 1 to approve the pilot program in principle. Now the bill becomes even more difficult to stop. AB 1542 is in the hands of the California state legislature- and our own state Senator Dodd and Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry are co-authors. The idea behind the bill might have sounded attractive on the surface- it’s been sold as an “alternative” to jail. But it could actually give prosecutors the ability to coerce people into a locked treatment facility for offenses like trespassing that normally would not lead to jail time; could incarcerate people in a treatment facility for up to the maximum sentence time for their crime even if they would not be eligible for the maximum sentence in a regular prison; could put people into a locked facility where they would not have the rights to parole or time off for good behavior as they normally have under California law. In other words, it would increase incarceration. And it would do it in the name of “treatment” even when substance use disorder experts call the method a violation of human rights and actually counterproductive to getting people help. Funds and staff going to this facility would mean resources diverted to incarceration instead of on already proven, voluntary, and actually cheaper methods. This week we’re contacting Sen. Dodd and Assm. Aguiar-Curry to ask them to reconsider their support for this bill. You can also register for a webinar April 30th at 12pm, presenting both sides of the issue here.
Our action on the federal level this week is to ask our Representative to unrig the Supreme Court by co-sponsoring the Judiciary Act of 2021. This is Representative Mondaire Jones’s bill to expand the Supreme Court by four seats. After Mitch McConnell’s radical maneuvers over the past four years to rig the court, we’ve lost confidence that the majority of the justices can be fair arbiters of the law and the Constitution. Supreme Court expansion is a critical step in restoring trust that the institution will fairly represent the rights of all the American people.
Example scripts and contact information are below.
Check out our event calendar at https://indivisibleyolo.org/calendar/for virtual events and actions, including Action Coffee on Mondays.
Reminder! There is no April General Meeting- the next General Meeting will be May 24th.
AB 1542 was approved April 13 by the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. The bill would establish a pilot program in Yolo County, that proponents say would “provide a second chance opportunity for individuals struggling with substance use disorder and attempt to curb the substance use issues.”
The bill would establish a pilot program that would provide a secured drug treatment facility where “felony offenders could be sentenced and treated for substance use disorders rather than serving a jail or prison sentence.”
The bill has received significant opposition from a variety of interests: including human rights, criminal justice reform, public health, and substance use treatment who believe that the bill is in fact involuntary treatment and goes against evidence-based approaches.
On April 30, at noon, the Vanguard Webinar will present both sides of this issue.
Tell Rep. Garamendi OR Rep. Matsui: Unrig the Supreme Court
(Note: only one of these 2 Congressmembers represents you. You can find out which one here)
- Rep. Garamendi (530) 753-5301 (Davis) (202)-225-1880 (D.C.) (email)
- Rep. Matsui (916) 498-5600 (Sacramento) (202) 225-7163 (D.C.) (email)
Sample Call Script:
Hello, my name is [name]. I’m a voter from [city] and my zip code is [zip].
I’m calling to urge Representative [Garamendi / Matsui] to co-sponsor the Judiciary Act of 2021. This is Representative Mondaire Jones’s bill to expand the Supreme Court by four seats.
After Mitch McConnell’s radical maneuvers over the past four years to rig the court, I’ve lost confidence that the majority of the justices can be fair arbiters of the law and the Constitution. Supreme Court expansion is a critical step in restoring trust that the institution will fairly represent the rights of all the American people.
I would appreciate hearing back from your office about whether Representative [Garamendi / Matsui] will co-sponsor the Judiciary Act of 2021. You can reach me at [phone/email].
No on AB 1542:
- State Sen. Dodd: (916) 651-4003 (Sacramento) (email)
- Assm. Aguiar-Curry: (530) 757-1034 (Davis) (916) 319-2004 (Sacramento) email
Sample Call Script for Sen. Dodd and Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry:
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME]. I’m a voter and my zip code is [zip code].
I’m calling in opposition to AB 1542. I am against involuntary treatment and incarceration for people with substance use disorders. I want to see a true public health approach to treating addiction- one that focuses on proven methods like voluntary treatment instead of a punitive approach that focuses on incarceration. We should listen to the evidence instead of doing an unethical pilot study that experts do not believe will work. A program like this would take away resources that could be used on voluntary, evidence based programs.
In the light of calls for a new approach to public health and safety, this is an incredibly tone-deaf and counterproductive bill. I’m asking [Senator Dodd/Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry] to remove [his/her] name from this bill and to oppose its passage.
DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.