Legislators Fight Recidivism by Helping Families Stay Connected with Incarcerated Loved Ones

For immediate release:

(Los Angeles, CA) Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) hosted a press conference with Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), Father Greg Boyle (Founder of Homeboy Industries) and the Coalition for Family Unity to introduce AB 958. This bill would fight recidivism by strengthening visiting opportunities and connections between incarcerated people and their families and children in California’s state prison. Twenty-one social justice organizations and numerous community members joined Assembly Member Santiago and Senator Durazo in support of the passage of the bill.

View Press Conference Live Footage Here:

Legislators Fight Recidivism by Helping Families Stay Connected with Incarcerated Loved Ones

"Denying incarcerated people the right to see their loved ones impacts the mental health and well-being of both the individual and their family members,” said Assembly Member Santiago. “With this bill, we can ensure we are not punishing innocent family members of incarcerated individuals by denying them the right to visit their loved one. At the same time, we can also eliminate barriers to one of the most successful methods of reducing recidivism and improving in-custody conduct: keeping families connected.”

“Separating families doesn't make us safer, it makes us lesser,” said Father Greg Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries.

“My Father who was incarcerated for 24 years always told me that the one thing that gave him hope and kept him on the right track to getting rehabilitated was that he would be reconnected to his family and me one day,” said Eric Morrison-Smith, Executive Director for the Alliance for Boys & Men of Color. “We know that this is the case with so many of our incarcerated loved ones. We must ensure that families have access and can build bonds with their loved ones inside and AB 958 will do just that. Whether you care about healthy families, the healing and rehabilitation of incarcerated people, or public safety, this bill advances each of these issues.”

AB 958 would potentially save taxpayers millions of dollars. Restoring visiting as a right would strengthen family connections and create a strong support system after release. These changes can save a significant amount of money for taxpayers by reducing recidivism (avoiding costly re-incarceration), improving in-custody conduct (reducing disciplinary and security costs in prisons), and supporting healthy development of children with incarcerated parents (lowering social service spending). Strong family connections can reduce intergenerational cycles of incarceration and create healthier and safer communities throughout California.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization. He represents the 54th District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Commerce, Montebello, and Vernon.