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Newsom Signs Batch of Criminal Justice Reforms: Courthouse News Service reports that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed several criminal justice bills last week, adding to the wide-ranging reforms of his predecessor, Jerry Brown.  A few of these changes include: banning facial recognition on police body cameras, easing mandatory sentences, and making it easier to expunge criminal records. The banning of facial recognition on police body cameras is based on the concern that facial recognition cameras "turn body cameras into a 24-hour surveillance tool". Police argue that facial recognition technology allows them to identify suspects. Another bill will remove the one-year sentence increase for each prior prison or jail term.  Proponents claim that the new law will save millions of dollars from prison and jail costs.  Many in law enforcement opposed the bill believing that repeat felons should serve longer sentences.  Another measure would allow the state to expunge the criminal records for offenders who have completed their sentences, to enable them to secure jobs and housing. Gov. Newsom stated that these bills, "show a new path to ensure our state moves closer toward a more equitable criminal justice system," the goal he has to make sure those who were or are incarcerated have a new chance at life once they get released. It is unclear how many serious habitual felons and gang members will benefit from the reduced sentences and erased criminal records provided by these new laws.

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