Santa Cruz County
CA

Agenda Item
DOC-2020-814
Approved in concept
Oct 6, 2020 9:00 AM

Consider approval in concept of ordinance amending Chapter 2.126 of the Santa Cruz County Code relating to the addition of new representatives to the Commission on Justice and Gender, to include a representative of the Black or African American community and a woman who has experienced incarceration; and schedule the ordinance for final adoption on October 20, 2020, as outlined in the memorandum of Supervisor Leopold

Information

Department:Board of Supervisors: First DistrictSponsors:First District Supervisor John Leopold
Category:BOS First District - Board LetterFunctions:General Government

Board Letter

Recommended Action(s):

1)              Consider ordinance amending Chapter 2.126 of the Santa Cruz County Code to expand the purpose of the Commission on Justice and Gender to include ending intergenerational incarceration and adding new representatives to include a representative of the Black or African American community and a woman who has experienced incarceration;

 

2)              Approve the ordinance in concept; and

 

3)              Schedule the ordinance for final adoption on October 20, 2020.

 

Executive Summary

In consultation with the NAACP and members of the criminal justice community, and to ensure that the new Commission on Justice and Gender reflects the diversity of the community, our Board should add two seats to the Commission to include a Black representative and a woman who has been involved with the criminal justice system. This item also includes a change to the Commission's purpose, which was already directed by our Board, to acknowledge ending intergenerational incarceration as a central focus.

 

Background

In January, at the conclusion of a two-year task force, the Board of Supervisors voted on a set of recommendations that included the establishment of the Commission on Justice and Gender to continue the work of the task force. In addition, the new commission would assume some of the responsibilities of the previous Domestic Violence Commission. The Board also requested that the Commission's purpose section be updated to include ending intergenerational incarceration.

 

Analysis

When the recommendation for the creation of the Commission on Justice and Gender was forwarded to the Board, many conversations with the members of the Advisory Task Force on Justice and Gender had taken place about the unique needs of women in the criminal justice system. The creation of the new commission offered an opportunity to continue the work of the Task Force and oversee the initial recommendations unanimously adopted by our Board.

 

During the intervening months, I have had many conversations with our local NAACP chapter and other justice advocates. Although we have included a representative of the Latinx community as a required seat on the Commission, we failed to do the same for a member of the Black community. As you may be aware, Black people are over-represented within our criminal justice system, as compared to the demographics of our community. In order to ensure their voice is heard on this important new body, adding a seat seems necessary.

 

Likewise, an oversight in the original process of creating the Commission on Justice and Gender was to include a woman who has been incarcerated as a required seat. The mantra of the Task Force was “Nothing about us, without us.” Ensuring that the voices of women who have been involved in the criminal justice system seems imperative to the success of the Commission.

Body

Strategic Plan Element(s)

1.A (Comprehensive Health & Safety: Local Justice)

Meeting History

Oct 6, 2020 9:00 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

1) APPROVED IN CONCEPT the ordinance amending Chapter 2.126; and

2) SCHEDULED the ordinance for final adoption on October 20, 2020

RESULT:APPROVED IN CONCEPT [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:John Leopold, First District Supervisor
SECONDER:Ryan Coonerty, Third District Supervisor
AYES:John Leopold, Zach Friend, Ryan Coonerty, Greg Caput, Bruce McPherson

Discussion