Patriots

Robert Kraft’s REFORM Alliance secures legislative victory in California

Assembly Bill 1950 will limit probation terms for adults in California.

Entrepreneur and recording artist Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, from left, poses with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Philadelphia 76ers co-owner and Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin, recording artist Meek Mill, Galaxy Digital CEO and founder Michael Novogratz, Brooklyn Nets co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, Third Point CEO and founder Daniel S. Loeb, and REFORM Alliance CEO and political activist Van Jones after the group announced a partnership to transform the American criminal justice system, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The REFORM Alliance, which was co-founded by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Jay-Z, Meek Mill, and others, secured what it’s calling its first major legislative win.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1950 into law Wednesday night, a measure meant to limit probation for adults in California.

Under AB 1950, probation for adults who commit misdemeanor offenses will be a maximum of one year. For felony offenses, adults will have no more than two years of probation.

Prior to AB 1950, the maximum probation term for those who commit misdemeanor offenses was three years. For felony offenses, probation terms could last for as long as the maximum possible prison sentence for the offense.

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“I was privileged to be one of the founders of the REFORM Alliance,” Kraft said in a video. “What influenced me was seeing Meek Mill’s unfair experience with the justice system. And seeing that it doesn’t treat everyone the same. I realized that these racial disparities are quite significant when it comes to probation.

“I want to thank Governor Newsom for having the courage to sign this bill into law and allowing California to become the leader in probation reform. His leadership in criminal justice will help hundreds of thousands of Californians to succeed and exit the criminal justice system for good and become contributing members of society. Well done, governor.”

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The REFORM Alliance said in a press release that AB 1950 will decrease California’s adult probation population (which is roughly 300,000) by 33 percent and give 24,000-plus years back. It also said AB 1950 will prevent at least 48,000 prison admissions due to technical violations and could save California taxpayers $2.1 billion in reduced incarceration, probation, and judicial and operational costs over five years.

“By signing AB 1950 into law, Governor Newsom has further cemented his legacy as a champion for justice, redemption, and opportunity,” Van Jones, CEO of REFORM, said in a press release. “In a year that has been so challenging and difficult for so many, this reform marks a bright spot that will lead to better outcomes for individuals and families across California. I cannot thank the Governor enough for supporting this legislation. I look forward to working with him to make the measure even stronger and more meaningful in the coming year.”

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“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in signing AB1950, the most transformative probation bill in this country to date,” Jay-Z added in the statement. “This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much needed change throughout the country.”

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