CEO Statement on California Senate Bill SB 1304 (“Gate Money Bill’)


Bari Samad | [email protected]; (619) 343-6509


June 1, 2022

Last week, the California Senate voted unanimously to pass the “gate money” bill, Senate Bill 1304 (SB 1304). The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is grateful to California Senator Sydney Kamlager (D-17) for authoring this legislation, and wants to reemphasize our staunch and unwavering support for SB 1304.

[Read Sign-on Letter]

As the bill moves to the Assembly, we urge members to amend the bill back to its original version, requiring $2,590 be provided to individuals who are leaving prison.

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 - leaving many people unhoused, unable to access mental health or substance abuse treatment, and unable to afford essential expenses daily transportation, food, clothing, and personal care items or items needed to prepare for employment.

The barriers returning individuals face are not inevitable, they are the result of systemic injustices which deprioritize the rehabilitation and reintegration of formerly incarcerated people. 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 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.

On behalf of our entire organization, we have appreciated being able to work closely with California’s administration as a project partner of Returning Home Well - tapping into the power of nonprofits and philanthropy, we were able to provide more than $1.3M in cash assistance to more than 1,000 individuals who were recently released from incarceration - but our work is far from over.

If passed, SB1304 will increase the provision of gate money for eligible Californians to an amount that will provide support to aid in someone’s reentry; it will support the state’s existing criminal justice reform efforts as well as our ongoing pursuit of justice and opportunity for all.


In 2020, Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) distributed $24 million in cash payments to more than 10,000 individuals returning from incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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: