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We know over-policing and over-incarceration doesn’t work, which is why Californians overwhelmingly support, voted for, and demand data-informed public safety solutions and criminal justice reform. 

The research is clear – over policing and incarcerating more people doesn’t lower crime.  What prevents crime and keeps our communities safe is education, health, economic equality, and prevention.

#SmartSolutions: 2024 Policy Platform

Courage California is proudly a part of #SmartSolutions, a new, intersectional campaign to counter efforts to double down on criminalization and mass incarceration – which inevitably means wasting precious state resources that could be better spent on housing, health care, schools, services for victims, and programs that reduce recidivism and promote accountability beyond incarceration. 

#SmartSolutions Policy Platform supported by:

  • Anti-Recidivism Coalition
  • Californians for Safety and Justice
  • Courage California
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
  • Indivisible California
  • Initiate Justice
  • Smart Justice California
  • Vera Institute of Justice – California

Solutions that Keep People Safe & Keep Communities Whole:

Increase reentry infrastructure: Employment is associated with far lower rates of reoffending, and higher wages are associated with lower rates of criminal activity. Health care, housing, and transportation services are also key to reducing recidivism. And yet according to the Urban Institute, very few people leaving prison receive assistance obtaining these things, including in California.
Support survivors: Right now, we mainly provide crime survivors with one option to heal: prosecution. This is not actually a very good one. We should fund trauma care, including at emergency rooms, health services, and financial support for all people who experience harm, even when the prosecution cannot prove a case in criminal court.
Help those struggling with substance use disorders: Invest in harm reduction techniques, like safe injection sites and readily available narcan. Dramatically scale drug treatment facilities statewide, and end barriers to employment and housing for those who have drug convictions.
Help those struggling with substance use disorders: Invest in harm reduction techniques, like safe injection sites. Dramatically scale drug treatment facilities statewide, and end barriers to employment and housing for those who have drug convictions.
Dramatically increase mental health treatment: We should invest in crisis response teams that send social workers to assist those experiencing a mental health crisis. We must also dramatically increase the number of free treatment beds that are available.
Invest in known violence prevention programs: We should heavily invest in data-proven violence interrupters, who are credible messengers that can prevent retaliatory violence.
Expand Trauma Recovery Centers: The UCSF Trauma Recovery Center provides free support for victims who need mental health treatment and other services, at zero cost to the victim. These programs are critical because victimization– and especially being victim of a gunshot wound– dramatically increases the risk of becoming an offender in the future.
Shift resources and mandate that law enforcement focus on serious crime: In 2020, police cleared just 59% of homicides, and only 45% of non-fatal violent crimes. The L.A. Sheriff’s Department cleared just 28.13% of homicides, and the Kern County Sheriff’s Department cleared just under 19%. Police are focusing on the wrong things.
* Learn more from Smart Justice: Solutions that Keep People Safe & Keep Communities Whole

All Californians should work together to make our communities safe. The best way to achieve safe communities for all Californians is investing in community resources! 

Voting is how communities come together in solidarity and make – and protect – change.

  • Protect: Our dollars. Our voice. Our vote. Our communities. 
  • Vote and hold police accountable. 
  • Vote to invest in our communities.

Public safety is a priority for communities around the state, and we know what keeps us safe: comprehensive investments in every person’s health, security, and a justice system that is fair and willing to hold everyone, including police and corporations, accountable for their actions. The most impacted communities have long demanded reforms to our economic and criminal justice systems and are leading on redefining justice to be more restorative and healing.

Community Safety Resources

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Californians Know the Truth:

Homicides are at an all time high“A long-range look at crime statistics, particularly homicide data, shows that the 2020 crime rate nationally and in California was still a fraction of its highs in the early 1990s, according to government statistics.” 
Theft is at an all time highCertain crimes, such as theft, increased from 2020 to 2021, but what’s also true is that it is down in California, in general. The state is far from levels experienced in the 90s (during our failed “tough on crime” policies”). Also worth note: these types of offenses are up across the nation, which include states and counties with conservative (“tough on crime”) DAs. There is NO correlation between the two. But there is a correlation between economic equity and crime.
Hate crimes have spikedAsian American communities have experienced hate on levels that hasn’t been seen in decades BUT we can’t ignore that this criminal activity was a byproduct of the GOPs (and president’s) racist rhetoric at the beginning of, and throughout, the pandemic. To combat this we need to build community, not further segregate folks through incarceration and divisive rhetoric.