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Governor Brown Signs Assemblymember Garcia’s First Bill of the Year

AB 683, Cultural Re-Entry Programs 

(SACRAMENTO, CA) Governor Brown signed Assemblymember Garcia’s first bill of the 2017-2018 legislative session. AB 683, Cultural Re-Entry Programs is a groundbreaking bill that will expand access to resources and help reduce recidivism for one of our state’s most vulnerable populations.
“I want to thank the Legislature and Governor Brown for their support. AB 683, Cultural Re-Entry Programs seeks to rectify social and systemic barriers facing incarcerated and previously incarcerated men and women. This legislation takes critical steps toward healing, empowering and strengthening our communities,” professed Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “To reduce recidivism it is essential to employ restorative justice programs and build bridges toward reconciliation and healthy family relationships. Studies show that this type of work is key both to improving post release outcomes as well as drastically improving the trajectory for children of the incarcerated.”

Specifically, this measure will authorize the Counties of Alameda, Imperial, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Clara, and San Joaquin to implement pilot programs to provide re-entry services and support to persons who are, or who are scheduled to be, released from a county jail.

City of Coachella, Mayor Steven Hernandez exclaimed that “the passage of AB 683 takes a great step in authorizing Counties to implement and provide reentry services and support to people who, or who are scheduled to be released from a County jail.  Programs like support services for parents or a mentorship program can go a long way to breaking cycles of incarceration within families. The City looks forward to seeing what type of pilot programs are developed at the County level and how they affect recidivism locally and county-wide.”

The pilot programs in the aforementioned counties will facilitate a culturally competent mentorship program aimed at job training and technical education, expand the availability of mental health resources, and provide leadership opportunities, amongst other objectives.

“We want to applaud Governor Jerry Brown for signing Assembly Bill 683 and commend the great leadership of Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s office on their efforts in making this a reality. AB 683 will create a culturally centered and healing informed strategy to help men transition back into the lives of their children in a healthy manner, and support reintegration of the families from which they were separated,” stated Hector Sanchez-Flores, Executive Director of the National Compadres Network. This nonprofit organization served as the chief bill sponsor.

The National Compadres Network provides technical assistance to community leaders in areas throughout the state. For example, Coachella Valley Unified School District’s After School Education and Safety (ASES) program has been able to utilize their evidence based Joven Noble curriculum.

“Congratulations to our Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia for supporting his constituents. This is an amazing opportunity to support our community members by providing a true reentry program. These programs will work as long as they provide The Circle of Health which includes Spiritual, Physical, Mental and Emotional support,” shared Bea Gonzalez, ASES District Coordinator for Coachella Valley Unified School District, elated that Governor Brown has supported this initiative. “We have two things to focus on in our community; preventing our students from entering the school to prison pipeline and restoring those who have lost their sacred purpose.”

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) serves as the chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife.  He represents the 56th district, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.

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