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California Mandela Act Set to Become Two Year Bill After Passing Senate

Survivors of solitary express grave concerns regarding the governor’s lack of engagement


SACRAMENTO, CA — AB 280, the California Mandela Act, was passed by the State Senate today, after receiving a supermajority in the California Assembly earlier this year. This marks the second year in a row that the bill received broad support by the California legislature, and sends a strong signal that the state is ready to end prolonged solitary confinement. The bill, modeled after comprehensive legislation passed by the state of New York, limits the use of solitary confinement in jails, prisons and private immigration detention facilities.

Despite the momentum generated by the legislation, advocates and solitary survivors with the CA Mandela Campaign (CMC) have expressed concern about attempts by the Newsom administration to dismiss the legislation. AB 280 will become a two year bill in order to facilitate good faith negotiations with the Governor and urge him to sign the act into law.

“Solitary confinement is torture and it must end. The Governor has repeatedly attempted to undermine or gut the Mandela Act, in order to continue to torture thousands of people in California prisons and other detention sites, while worsening safety for everyone.” said Hakim Owen, an undergraduate with UC Berkeley Underground Scholars and advocate with CMC. “But our growing campaign, led by people who have lived through solitary or had family members inside, has continued to thwart his efforts to marginalize our movement.” Owen continues, “Now the Assembly and Senate have once again passed the Mandela Act. The people have spoken. The vast majority of legislators have spoken. And now the Governor needs to join his own party on the right side of history. Whenever the legislature sends the bill to his desk, the Governor must sign the Mandela Act into law, to stop torture, save lives, and make everyone safer.”

For more information on the Mandela Act as well as a list of supporting organizations please visit https://camandelabill.org/

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The CA Mandela Campaign includes: California Families Against Solitary Confinement, California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, Disability Rights California, Immigrant Defense Advocates, NextGen California, Underground Scholars Initiative, UC Berkeley, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Haitian Bridge Alliance, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Unlock the Box, among other supporting organizations and sponsors.

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