How to Talk to Uncle Ed about Criminal Justice Reform

As the one year anniversary of California voters overwhelmingly passing Prop 47, we are eager for Californians to keep up the pressure in promoting and advancing this historic criminal justice reform measure. And since many of us will be getting together with family and friends as the holiday season fast approaches, we wanted to create a toolkit to help you talk about these complex issues from places of common values in a way that even an ornery uncle might be able to appreciate.

Last November 4, a bipartisan majority of voters passed Prop 47, a ballot measure aimed at addressing the ballooning issue of mass incarceration here in California. Nearly 60% of the voters agreed that six nonviolent, non-serious offenses should not impose the lingering impact a felony record too often has on those convicted, their families, and their communities. As importantly, billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars were being spent to incarcerate these individuals who had simple drug possession or petty theft convictions.

The fight is not over. As the debate continues over the impact of our state and national criminal justice reform efforts, we want to engage our fellow Californians in discussions about the success of Prop 47, and the immediate positive effects it is already having on the lives of those who have had their felonies reclassified as misdemeanors.

We’ve created a toolkit to help stimulate that debate. It includes:

  • Messaging guide – Our top-line messages for starting conversations around the Thanksgiving dinner table, in your neighborhood newspapers, among your friends and family, and anyone interested in helping to figure out solutions to address our broken criminal justice system
  • Social media materials – For use on organizational and personal sites to help spread the word, providing positive exposure of Prop 47’s reforms and successes
  • Letter-to-the-Editor templates – Sometimes we forget how important our voices are in helping to paint a full, real picture of what is happening in our communities. Many law enforcement officials agree with us that change is needed to our deeply broken system; some, though, oppose the reforms and are quite vocal about it. We need our neighbors and local elected officials to hear directly from those who are impacted by the criminal justice system, and who are benefiting already from Prop 47’s reforms. These templates provide suggestions, but please use your own personal touch!
  • Direct service materials – Our toolkit includes the forms folks who are seeking to get their California DOJ RAP sheet need, and directions. Please share with your networks of direct service providers!

If you have any questions about the Prop 47 toolkit, please contact us!