November 14, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today the Berkeley City Council’s Health, Life Enrichment, Equity & Community (HLEEC) Committee unanimously passed District 2 Councilmember Terry Taplin’s proposal for the City’s newly-formed Office of Racial Equity to incorporate workforce development services for the recently incarcerated (known as “adult re-entry”) and development of a Guaranteed Basic Income pilot program as part of its ongoing efforts to reimagine public safety. The item, cosponsored by Committee Chair Sophie Hahn, Vice Mayor Harrison, and Councilmember Rigel Robinson, now includes a budget referral to cover $50,000 in consulting costs and will head to a full Council vote on December 6.
These programs were recommended by the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) and the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force as part of their responses to Berkeley’s omnibus Reimagining Public Safety process in 2021-22. This comes at a critical juncture as staffing and procurement for Berkeley’s Ceasefire program is underway. A 2021 independent report on Alameda County’s Criminal Justice Realignment programs found that adult re-entry services had been effective, “it appears service expansion could reduce recidivism rates among Alameda County’s probation population moving forward.”
“I’m elated by this progress and I look forward to engaging with my council colleagues and staff to see these programs come to fruition,” said Councilmember Terry Taplin (District 2). “The promise of reparative justice is not just to redress and heal from historic wrongs, but to thrive and build a more inclusive society for all. I believe we need all hands on deck for an all-of-the-above approach: cash assistance, job training and employment services, housing, and healthcare will all be essential for breaking the cycles of poverty and violence in our communities. I won’t rest until that work is done.”