Since 1973, released California inmates get $200, enough at the time for one month's rent. State senator Sydney Kamlager is introducing legislation to increase this "gate money" to $2,600 to reflect modern costs of living, reports The Guardian. “This is really about making sure that when people get out, we are not perpetuating a cycle of economic violence,” she said. She points out that the new allowance would cost the state less than readmitting ex-convicts that turn to crime out of financial desperation. The bill could take effect in 2024. About 600,000 people are released from prisons each year across the U.S. In Louisiana and Alabama, they receive as little as $10 to cover their basic needs.
According to activists like Amika Mota of the Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition, not providing enough money to released convicts is "counter productive public safety." Increasing the amount could help reunite families, she says. "In 2022, when the price for a gallon of gas in Los Angeles is almost $5, it is unconscionable that the state of California still gives just $200 ," Kamlager said. Experts view a person’s first 72 hours after release as a vulnerable time that can determine whether or not they end up back in prison, said Mota.