Criminal Justice Team

photo of Christine Wenrich

Team Members: Jinky Gardner, Pat Kuhi

What we do:
We are a flexible group who observe and report on meetings held by the cities of Berkeley and Albany on policing and social justice.  Berkeley’s new Police Accountability Board will be of great interest to our team. 

If you, would like to observe Emeryville City Meetings for LWVBAE, please tap a line.  There is also a Juvenile Justice aspect to our group.  We would like to follow the closing of out-of-state and other incarceration facilities for youth. Please join us in this endeavor –

A little history to present:

‘Policing Practices’ was presented as a local recommendation at the League of Women Voters Convention in 2017.  Since the Los Angeles League had been studying policing for many years, they were offering a carefully thought out position statement for concurrence.  After their caucus, one of our own LWVBAE members put forward a motion to concur with LA’s position.  There was an uproar regarding Rules, so the motion was withdrawn.  The interest and enthusiasm that grew out of this interaction brewed the following actions.

LWVBAE joined with, along with other California local Leagues, LWVC to gather information about the CJ work being done by local Leagues across the country. A broad Position Statement was written as a result. Into 2018, monthly webinars were held to share concerns and support the work.  At the 2019 League of Women Voters Convention in Pasadena, a stirring caucus was held, a formal verbal statement of rationale was heard just before the vote, and the delegates voted to concur.  The Policing Position had become part of the State level program.

Shortly after the convention, LWVBAE members began attending the Berkeley Police Commission meetings. Observing this Commission at work was enjoyable and educational.  When Measure ii came up on the ballot, a member reported with details about the proposal at the LWVBAE Pros & Cons webinar, and the measure was officially endorsed by the membership.   

During the summer of 2020, Albany City Council began engaging their Social & Economic Justice Commission regarding social justice issues. LWVBAE interns and long-term members observed these meetings, and interns reported the activities in articles for public consumption.  

Please see our official political position below as we continue to work and refine it;

Our Position adapted from the State League:

LWVC Position on Criminal Justice:  The LWV California supports:

● a criminal justice system that is just, effective, equitable, transparent, and that fosters public trust at all stages, including policing practices, pre-trial procedures, sentencing, incarceration, and re-entry;

● the elimination of systemic bias, including the disproportionate policing and incarceration of marginalized communities;

● policing practices that promote safety for both law enforcement officers and the communities they serve;

● collaboration between government and community throughout every stage of the criminal justice system;

● a focus on humane treatment and rehabilitation with the goal of promoting the successful reentry into communities of those who have been incarcerated; and

● reliance on evidence-based research in decision-making about law-enforcement programs and policies (including scheduled, periodic audits of program and policy effectiveness)

For further the details go to: LWVC’s Criminal Justice Position