Advancing California Food Security and Public Safety Through SB 1254

As we celebrate a significant milestone in our mission to enhance food security and public safety in California, we are pleased to announce that SB 1254 has successfully passed the Senate floor and is now headed to the Assembly. This legislation, also known as the Food for Re-entry and Ensuring Stable Homes (FRESH) Act, is a critical step toward addressing food insecurity among individuals transitioning from incarceration back into the community.

The Intersection of Incarceration and Food Insecurity

Incarceration disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities, exacerbating issues of food insecurity and economic instability. Upon release, many formerly incarcerated individuals struggle to access basic necessities, including nutritious food. This lack of access undermines their health and hampers their ability to reintegrate into society successfully.

A recent memo by Nourish California outlines the profound impact of incarceration on food insecurity. It highlights how systemic barriers prevent returning citizens from securing stable employment and housing, further entrenching them in cycles of poverty and recidivism. Food insecurity is a pervasive issue that disproportionately burdens those who the criminal justice system has impacted.

SB 1254: A Path to Increased Food Security and Public Safety

SB 1254 aims to mitigate these challenges by allowing incarcerated individuals to apply for CalFresh benefits up to 90 days before their release. This pre-enrollment process ensures that individuals have immediate access to food assistance upon reentry, providing a crucial safety net during their transition.

Key Benefits of SB 1254:

  1. Increased Food Security: By providing timely access to CalFresh benefits, SB 1254 helps to ensure that returning citizens do not face hunger and malnutrition, which are significant barriers to successful reintegration.
  2. Enhanced Public Safety: Access to basic needs, including food, reduces the likelihood of recidivism. Ensuring that individuals have the support they need upon release contributes to safer communities.
  3. Health and Economic Benefits: Adequate nutrition is essential for physical and mental health. SB 1254 not only supports individual well-being but also reduces healthcare costs and promotes economic stability by enabling individuals to focus on securing employment and housing.

Building on Successful Collaborations

Our journey toward advancing SB 1254 has been marked by collaboration and perseverance. Through strategic amendments and open dialogue, we have successfully addressed opposition and garnered broad support. This progress is a testament to the power of community advocacy and partnership. Organizations like All of Us or None / Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), Root & Rebound, and Justice In Aging have been invaluable allies in this effort, and we are deeply grateful for their support.

A Commitment to Justice and Equity

As SB 1254 heads to the Assembly floor, we remain committed to our broader mission of ensuring that all Californians have the opportunity to thrive. This legislation represents a crucial step toward dismantling systemic barriers and promoting restorative justice for formerly incarcerated individuals.

We invite our community, partners, and supporters to continue standing with us as we push for the passage of SB 1254 all the way to the Governor's desk! Together, we can create a more just and equitable state where no one is left behind, and access to a thriving transition is the norm, not the exception.

Take Action

As we move forward, SB 1254, the Food for Re-entry and Ensuring Stable Homes (FRESH) Act, is now headed to the Human Services and Public Safety Committee. Below, you will find template support letters to submit to the committee. Thank you for standing with us in this critical mission.

Support 1254- Public Safety

To learn more about SB 1254 and how you can get involved in the Thriving Transitions campaign, click here.