CEO Statement on SB 1304 (“Gate Money Bill’) Passing California Assembly
Bari Samad | [email protected] | (619) 343-6509
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2022
Yesterday, California Senate Bill 1304 (“Gate Money Bill’) cleared a key hurdle, when it was passed unanimously out of the Assembly (54-0), setting the stage for California to lead the way in providing critical support for those trying to make the successful transition back to their communities.
SB 1304 will increase the gate money allowance provided to individuals from $200 to $1,300 - the first increase in over 40 years. The bill, sponsored by Congressional candidate and state Sen. Sydney Kamlager, won Senate passage earlier this month.
The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is grateful to California Senator Sydney Kamlager (D-17) for authoring this legislation. As the bill moves to the Governor’s desk, CEO wants to reemphasize our staunch and unwavering support for SB 1304.
“The barriers returning individuals face are not inevitable. They are the result of systemic injustices which de-prioritize the rehabilitation and reintegration of formerly incarcerated people,” said Simone Price, Director of Organizing at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), the nation’s largest nonprofit providing employment services to people with past convictions, in a letter to the General Assembly. “By addressing head-on the financial troubles of people leaving incarceration, we may be able to accelerate their reintegration and transition to stable employment and reduce recidivism.”
CEO currently serves ten county regions in California, with offices in Oakland, Sacramento, Solano, Marin, San Jose, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego. Our organization now serves an average of 3,000 people in California annually. These Californians face incomparable challenges returning to their communities.
The stigma of being formerly incarcerated presents immediate obstacles to employment and safe and affordable housing. These barriers leave many people unhoused and unable to access mental health or substance abuse treatment. Many are unable to afford essential expenses daily transportation, food, clothing, and personal care items, or items needed to prepare for employment.
CEO saw from its Returning Citizen Stimulus program that unrestricted cash assistance can significantly support individuals in their employment search when they return, expediting their ability to contribute to the state’s economy.
“I had to start from zero when I got out. If it wasn't for reentry cash assistance, I honestly don't know how I would have survived my first few months out. This increase in gate money will help a lot of those coming home to get on their feet,” says Karina Melendez, CEO Advocacy Fellow and RCS recipient.
In 2020, CEO distributed $24 million in cash payments to more than 10,000 individuals returning from incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic. CEO currently operates in over 30 cities and is dedicated to ensuring that justice-impacted job seekers have opportunities to achieve social and economic mobility. For more information please visit: https://ceoworks.org
ABOUT CENTER FOR EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively to people recently released from incarceration. CEO currently operates in over 30 cities and is dedicated to ensuring that justice-impacted job seekers have opportunities to achieve social and economic mobility. For more information please visit: https://ceoworks.org