Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California Applauds Gov. Brown for Signing the Pardon and Commutation Reform Act into Law


September 27, 2018

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California Applauds Gov. Brown for Signing the Pardon and Commutation Reform Act into Law

Civil Rights Organizations Encouraged that California is Making Strides in Improving Access and Transparency in the Pardon & Commutation Process

Sacramento, CA – Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California (Advancing Justice – CA) applauds Governor Brown for signing AB 2845 into law today. Authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta and co-sponsored by Advancing Justice – CA along with a coalition of immigrant rights and criminal justice reform organizations, AB 2845 will significantly improve the transparency and accessibility of California’s pardon and commutation process.

Pardons are essential to realizing a vision of restorative justice and recognizing our shared values of redemption and rehabilitation. Pardons and commutations also are narrow paths to redress some of the harm that California’s mass incarceration system, which is one of the largest in the world, has caused by tearing apart families and communities.

AB 2845 will provide necessary reform to California’s antiquated and opaque pardon and commutation process. Under current practice, petitioners who apply for pardons and commutations have no way of knowing if their request was received, reviewed, or if a decision will be made. AB 2845 will provide greater transparency in this process and create long overdue reforms for our formerly incarcerated community members.

AB 2845 received support from a wide range of civil rights organizations and civic engagement groups who are encouraged that California is building on Governor Brown’s legacy of granting the most pardons and commutations of any California Governor in recent history.

“AB 2845 creates more opportunities to remove barriers to reintegration and marks another important step in the process of reforming our punitive and inhumane criminal justice system,” said Angela Chan, Policy Director at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “As the Trump Administration has been unleashing waves of raids on Southeast Asian refugee communities, pardons offer one of the only remedies to stop deportations in many of these cases.”

“We thank Assemblymember Bonta and Governor Brown for standing up for the rights of our communities,” said Reshma Shamasunder, Vice President of Program Strategy at Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “Pardons are one of the only avenues that allow our community members who have turned their lives around a chance at staying with their families. This bill is a great first step towards justice for all Californians.”

“We applaud Governor Brown for signing this important legislation into law,” said Andrew Medina, Policy Manager for Advancing Justice – California. “At a time when political forces aim to tear our communities apart, California must be a leader in protecting the rights of all.”

AB 2845 is authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta. Co-sponsoring organizations include: Advancing Justice – California, Asian Prisoners Support Committee,California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, PICO California, Root and Rebound, and the Youth Justice Coalition.



Advancing Justice – CA is a partnership between Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (Advancing Justice – ALC) in San Francisco and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA).


Advancing Justice – ALC was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, Advancing Justice – ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Visit


Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA is the largest civil rights organization working in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice. Visit

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