Lynne Lyman

lynne-lyman-200x300Lynne Lyman is the California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. Based in Los Angeles, Lyman leads DPA’s criminal justice reform work in California and oversees all other aspects of the organization’s policy and advocacy work in the state. A native of Los Angeles, Lyman joined the Drug Policy Alliance in 2012 after working with the civil rights organization, Advancement Project, on violence reduction, community policing and criminal justice reform.

While Jeff Sessions Escalates the War on Drugs, Drug Policy Reform Surges Ahead in California

The Drug Policy Alliance had another successful day in the California state legislature, with two more bills passing through the first house committee, AB 1578 and SB 180. These bills join the agenda with two others bills that passed through their first house committees in preceding weeks. While U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions escalates the war on drugs, drug policy reform surges ahead in California, joining states such as Washington and New York, where similar innovative approaches to … [Read more...]

Do Not Delay: Implement Marijuana Legalization in California

On time and intact implementation of California’s Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, is critical to realizing the benefits of legalization and reducing the harms from decades of prohibition that have resulted in the mass incarceration and criminalization of low-income people of color, and utterly failed to protect public health and public safety. Efficient implementation of Prop. 64 is urgent. While Prop. 64 legalized possession and consumption of cannabis products for adults 21 … [Read more...]

My Surreal Experience Discussing Drug Policy Reform and Mass Incarceration at the White House

I just had to share what an amazing event I attended last week in Washington, DC. It felt like a real turning point in the broader public debate on the war on drugs, and I left DC, heading in to Independence Day feeling proud to be an American. Last week, government officials and community leaders from more than 30 city, county and state jurisdictions gathered at the White House to discuss an innovative program that brings together diverse stakeholders seeking to achieve better outcomes in … [Read more...]

Seattle’s New Approach to Low-Level Drug Offenses Cuts Recidivism Nearly 60%

LEAD Establishes Unique Collaboration Among Law Enforcement, Human Service Agencies, Business Leaders, and Community Members Interest in LEAD Grows Among Major Cities Across the Nation, Including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, and Albany ccording to a new, independent study by a University of Washington evaluation team, one of the nation’s most innovative and promising approaches to ending the war on drugs and mass incarceration has been shown to … [Read more...]

Lifetime Ban on Foodstamps Lifted

California Lifts Ban on Public Assistance for People with Drug Convictions ungry? Need a job? Have a drug conviction in your past? Good news, as of yesterday, Californians who were convicted of felony drug possession, use, or distribution after December 31, 1997, will no longer be disqualified from receiving CalWORKs (California’s version of employment assistance for poor people) and CalFresh (food stamps) benefits. Shockingly, we have allowed thousands of children and poor families to go … [Read more...]

California Budget Removes Food Stamps Ban for People with Drug Felonies

n the budget sausage-making process that culminated in a successful vote over the weekend, an amazing piece of meat (vegan or the real stuff) was produced in California. If approved by the governor, as expected, California will allow people with drug felonies on their record to be eligible for food stamps for the first time since 1996. Tucked in the extensive trailer language was a provision that California anti-hunger, anti-poverty, drug policy reform, and civil rights advocates have been … [Read more...]

Governor Brown Given Another Chance to Offer Real Solutions to Prison Overcrowding in California

hen LA Times reporter Paige St. John tweeted that private prison industry leader Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) stock took a nose dive after the federal judges announced they would give California two additional years to reduce the state prison population to 137 percent of design capacity, I took note. Bad news for the private prison shareholders usually means good news for criminal justice reformers. Back in October I received a cold call from an innocuous sounding firm that … [Read more...]

Drug Policy Alliance Job Openings

The Drug Policy Alliance National office has two immediate openings: 1. Youth Policy Manager (based in New York City): The Youth Policy Manager is a new full-time position supported by a multi-year grant. The Manager is responsible for coordinating DPA’s advocacy in the area of young people and drugs, which ranges from drug education and prevention to drug effects, juvenile justice, school discipline and child welfare. The Manager will deepen our policy positions, advance key relationships, … [Read more...]

Jerry Brown Rejects “Smart on Crime” Trend

Over the long weekend, California Gov. Jerry Brown chose to continue the 40-year-old failed war on drugs. Brown rejected the national ‘smart on crime’ trend and pragmatic public policy by vetoing SB649, which aimed to give judges and district attorneys the discretion to charge possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use as a felony or a misdemeanor as the case warrants. Brown chose to make no advance towards the federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding. The … [Read more...]

Drug Policy Alliance Calls for the Release of California’s Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Last week, a United States District Court ordered California to immediately take steps to reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity (down to approximately 110,000 inmates). In a sharply worded brief, the panel made it clear that Gov. Jerry Brown's plan did not comply, and it ordered implementation of additional measures such as expanding good time credits.  If those measures are insufficient by December 31, 2013, the Court ordered the state to release inmates identified … [Read more...]