Right to Internet access in Juvenile Facilities - The Bill AB 811
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Earlier this year, Democrat Assemblymember Mike Gipson introduced legislation that would mandate "reasonable access to computer technology and the internet" for kids in juvenile detention programs and foster care.
Access to the internet would be listed on the bills of rights for youth in these state programs. Existing rights include a safe environment, health care, freedom of religion and access to a lawyer.
The bill, AB 811, would limit internet use and computer technology in detention facilities -- allowing it to be used only for educational purposes and to keep in touch with family and supportive adults. Probation officers could adopt further policies restricting the use.
In 2016, the United Nations officially declared access to the internet a basic human right, noting its role "as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms."
Many teens are placed in locations far from their homes and families, making availability of electronic communication to maintain supportive relationships even more important, this Bill has recently been supported by Facebook saying that the bill would "appropriately modernize" the resources available for youth to successfully reintegrate with society.
The bill goes before Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Human Services this week. A spokesperson for Gipson's office said no other tech company has sent support for this bill. I urge all to sign this petition, as it provides support towards the bill that could provide those who have been stripped from their freedom at such a young age (for understandable reasons) to a basic human right.
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