Recommendations include deleting language from the California Constitution that allows involuntary servitude as punishment for crime
Sacramento – On June 1, 2022, the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans issued its interim report to the California State Legislature. The interim report surveys the ongoing and compounding harms experienced by African Americans as a result of slavery and its lingering effects on American society today. The interim report also includes a set of preliminary recommendations for policies that the California State Legislature could adopt to remedy those harms.
Jamilia Land, co-founder of the Anti-Violence Safety and Accountability Project (ASAP) and co-chair of the California Abolition Act Coalition, said: “We are beyond grateful to the task force for its recommendation that the legislature pass ACA3: The California Abolition Act. We can’t have an authentically honest conversation about reparations when slavery and vestiges of it are still legal and being practiced.”
Section XV, Preliminary Recommendations for Future Deliberation, states “Enslavement/End legal slavery in California” by doing the following:
- Deleting language from the California Constitution that permits involuntary servitude as punishment for crime by passing ACA3 (Kamlager).
- Repealing Penal Code Section 2700, which states that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) “shall require of every able bodied prisoner imprisoned in any state prison as many hours of faithful labor in each day and every day during his or her term of imprisonment as shall be prescribed by the rules and regulations of the director of corrections.”
- Pass legislation that makes education, substance use and mental health treatment and rehabilitative programs the first priority for incarcerated people. In addition, allow incarcerated people to make decisions regarding how they will spend their time and which programs and jobs they will do while incarcerated.
- Require that incarcerated people who are working in prison or jail be paid a fair market rate for their labor.
- Prohibit for-profit prison companies from operating within the system – i.e. companies that control phone calls, emails and other communications.
- Require that any goods or services available for purchase by incarcerated people and their families be provided at the same cost as those goods and services outside of prison.
- Allow people who are incarcerated to continue to exercise their right to vote.
“One of the preliminary recommendations in our report was to support ACA3; the Task Force saw how that type of legislation aligns perfectly with the idea of reparations for African Americans,” said Kamilah V. Moore, California Reparations Task Force Chair.
In December 2020, Samual N. Brown authored the proposal that is now Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 while employed as an incarcerated healthcare facilities maintenance worker inside California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. On March 4, 2021, Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager, now a California state senator, announced ACA3: The California Abolition Act to Abolish Involuntary Servitude.
“The Task Force saw how ACA3 aligns perfectly with the idea of reparations for African Americans.”
On June 15, 2021, ACA3 passed through the California State Assembly Public Safety Committee with a 59-0 vote and overwhelming support from California State Assemblymen and Public Safety.
Committee chair and member of the reparations task force Reginald Jones-Sawyer Sr. stated: “I’m on reparations! This should be part of it.” On March 22, 2022 the California Assembly advanced ACA3 through appropriations to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
During the hearing Assemblymember Ash Kalra stated, “Our constitution serves as the guiding principle for all other state laws. There is no place for slavery, forced labor or involuntary servitude on our books.”
On May 31, 2022, Chris Lodgson, lead organizer for the Coalition For A Just & Equitable California (CJEC) testified before the California State Senate Public Safety Committee in support of ACA3.
“I work with legislators and officials including now Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber as well as our esteemed chair, Sen. Bradford, who helped enact the law that created the country’s first reparations commission.
“I’m here today to urge your aye vote on ACA3 and to finally end current, ongoing slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Article 1, section 6, of our state constitution, which allows for involuntary forced labor, is one of the most clear and unacceptable enduring badges and incidents of slavery.”
ACA3 will be heard next on June 13, 2022, in the Elections Committee, to be followed by a Senate floor vote. If passed before the June 30, 2022, deadline, ACA3 will become a proposition and be placed on the November 2022 ballot for Californians to vote on.
The California Abolition Act is officially co-sponsored by: Violence Safety and Accountability Project (ASAP), Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition (SWFC) 10P Program, The Abolish Slavery National Network (ASNN), The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), Prison from the Inside Out (PFTIO), Pride and Truth, The Village Advocates, ASCRIBE, Uncommon Law, Bend the Arc, EDIFYE, Fair Chance Project, FUEL, March On, The Center for African Peace & Conflict Resolution-California State University Sacramento (CAPCR) and Courage Campaign.
Contact the California Abolition Act Coalition by email firstname.lastname@example.org