In the State Legislature, Ricardo Lara has been committed to challenging mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline, working tirelessly to ensure that California’s criminal justice system is more fair just.

- Authored SB 393 (Consumer Arrest Record Equity Act), which seals arrest records and removes barriers to employment and housing for those arrested but not convicted of a crime. A recent study found that nearly 40% of men and 20% of women are arrested before age 23, yet many are never convicted. It also updates criminal records at both local and state levels so that credit reporting agencies and the California Department of Justice do not disseminate sealed arrest information. 

- Authored SB 394, which brings California into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court Montgomery v. Louisiana decision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole. Senate Bill 394 allows young people sentenced to life without parole to have a parole hearing after 25 years. SB 394 complies with the Supreme Court, delivers accountability, and allows for the possibility of rehabilitation.  

- Authored SB 395, which requires those age 15 and under to consult with legal counsel before they waive their Miranda rights in interrogations with police. Research shows that young people are much more likely to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, and they are less likely to understand their constitutional rights than adults.