Legislation currently being considered by the California state Senate will require judges to take a convicted criminal’s race into account when doling out prison sentences. The Democrat-backed bill was introduced “quietly” in February, was passed by the legislation in May, and now is waiting for Senate approval.
Fox News reports that Bill 852 is a measure that adds a section to the Penal Code of California requiring courts, whenever they have the authority to determine a prison sentence, to “rectify” alleged racial bias in the criminal justice system by taking into account how historically persecuted minorities are affected differently than others.
“It is the intent of the Legislature to rectify the racial bias that has historically permeated our criminal justice system as documented by the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans,” the proposed new section to the Penal Code reads.
“Whenever the court has discretion to determine the appropriate sentence according to relevant statutes and the sentencing rules of the Judicial Council, the court presiding over a criminal matter shall consider the disparate impact on historically disenfranchised and system-impacted populations” the verbiage continues.
The California Task Force was created by state legislation and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020 “to examine the possibility of implementing statewide reparations as a way to make amends for slavery and racism.” According to the task force, history has created lingering consequences that exist today in the form of systemic racism.
Just a few weeks ago, the task force officially released its “final recommendations” which are detailed in its 1,000 page report. The task force proposed dozens of statewide policies and ways to give monetary reparations “designed to redress slavery and historical injustices against Black Americans.”
Bill 852 “seeks to build off the task force’s findings and recommendations by mandating that California courts fight what it describes as racial bias in sentencing that can disadvantage Black people and other minorities” writes Fox News. “The task force estimated the minimum dollar amount in harm that California has caused or could have prevented totals at least $1 million per eligible Black Californian.”