For Immediate Release—May 17, 2013
Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros, 510.5177.6612
Who: Los Angeles No More Jails Coalition
When: Saturday May 18. 12:00–1:00pm
Where: Pitchess Detention Center—North Facility, intersection of The Old Road and Biscailuz Drive, Castaic, CA
Los Angeles—Members of the Los Angeles No More Jails Coalition are taking their fight against the expansion of LA County’s notorious jail system to a proposed construction site in the city of Castaic. Last year, LA County Sheriff Lee Baca applied for $100 million from the tate to expand Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. The proposed expansion would be used to lock up over 1,000 women. In March, the Sheriff was scheduled to submit his expansion plan to the LA County Board of Supervisors but instead called for a nine-month extension to explore other options. County residents will gather at the current facility in Castaic on Saturday afternoon to demand that the expansion project be abandoned and that county resources be used instead for alternatives to imprisonment, increased education and job opportunities, and reentry support for people returning home from prisons and jails.
“Poor women of color are already facing huge obstacles to accessing healthcare, education, housing and jobs. Sheriff Baca’s scandalous and harmful jail expansion plan targets these same women, destroys their families, and steals precious resources that should be put into programs and services they and their children need the most,” says Theresa Martinez, a former prisoner and current board member of the prisoner advocacy organization Justice Now. “As always, the community is determined to stop this jail and to fight for what it needs to stay healthy and strong.”
Controversially dubbed a “women’s village” by the Sheriff, the Castaic project is part of a wider jail expansion scheme that would cost the county over $1.5 billion and would increase the jail population by over seven thousand people. “There are clear alternatives that we could implement right now to avoid locking up more LA County residents and reduce the jail population. These alternatives would strengthen our communities and could save the county over a billion dollars,” says Mary Sutton of Critical Resistance, one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest. “The Board of Supervisors should expand community-based treatment options for individuals with mental health issues, reduce the number of people who are thrown in jail because of parole and probation violations, prioritize funding for quality drug treatment programs, and stop locking up people who simply can’t afford bail. All of these steps are proven to keep people out of jail and could lead Los Angeles on a path toward ending the cycles of imprisonment that have caused so much harm for so many of its communities.”
Saturday’s protest will feature a lively demonstration, colorful signs and banners, and testimony from many community-based organizations fighting the jail expansion. Spokespeople will be available for interviews throughout the day.
MEDIA ADVISORY – MAY 16, 2013
CONTACT: Diana Zuñiga, 213-864-8931
What: Press Conference Call. 1-646-307-1300 Code: 8789260
When: Thursday, May 16 2013 at 9:30am. Prisoner Rights Activists and Experts respond to the Governor’s May Budget Revise.
Who: Californians United for a Responsible Budget. Speakers will include Debbie Reyes of the California Prison Moratorium Project, Courtney Hooks of Justice Now, Diana Zuñiga of Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Vanessa Aramayo of the California Partnership, Carol Strickman of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, and Linda Evans of All Of Us Or None and additional experts will be available for comment on specific aspect of the plan.
Sacramento – Prison advocates and policy experts will respond to Governor Brown’s May budget revise. During his Tuesday press conference Gov. Brown explained that there were no plans for prison population reduction in the revised budget plan. Indeed, the budget projects an increase in the prison population and tweaks realignment by providing funds for CDCR to “house long-term offenders” currently under county supervision. Despite the Governor’s reluctance to spend all of the current windfall of revenues, General Fund spending is slated to increase by 0.7% next year and Corrections spending by more than twice that amount, at 1.9%. Corrections spending is budgeted to be 9.2% of General Fund spending.
CONTACT: Diana Zuñiga, 213-864-8931
Who: Californians United for a Responsible Budget. Speakers will include Debbie Reyes of the California Prison Moratorium Project, Courtney Hooks of Justice Now, Diana Zuñiga of Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Vanessa Aramayo of California Partnership and additional experts will be available for comment on specific aspect of the plan.What: Press Conference Call. 218-936-4141, code #5409430
When: Wednesday, May 15 2013 at 2pm. Prisoner Rights Activists and Experts respond to the Governor’s May Budget Revise.
Sacramento – During his press conference earlier this morning to introduce the May Budget Revise, Gov. Brown explained that there were no plans for prison population reduction in today’s budget plan. Indeed, the budget projects an increase in the prison population and tweaks realignment by providing funds for CDCR to “house long-term offenders” currently under county supervision.
Earlier this month, under a Federal Court Order Governor Brown submitted a plan to bring the state prison system into compliance with the three-judge-panel order by reducing the number of people in state prison by 9,300 to 137.5% of design capacity.
Despite the Governor’s reluctance to spend all of the current windfall of revenues, General Fund spending is slated to increase by 0.7% next year and Corrections spending by more than twice that amount, at 1.9%. Corrections spending is budgeted to be 9.2% of General Fund spending. Gov. Brown follows the lead of Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger in sparing Corrections budgets from the sorts of cuts that have decimated human services and higher education.
“The Governor’s unwillingness to back even watered down reforms to parole and good time credits shows he continues to be more committed to the law enforcement lobby than the health and wellbeing of Californians,” said Courtney Hooks of Justice Now “The Legislature has a chance to break from Brown’s racist fear mongering and write a budget that follows the clear will of Californians to shorten harsh sentences.”
Further expansion to good time credit alone could result in an additional population reduction of 5,632 according to the plan the Administration submitted to the Court.
“Brown’s budget repeats the bad news of his so-called plan for prison overcrowding. In his plan, he told the Federal Court that he supports no programs to reduce the prison population and wants to reduce crowding by building more prisons and leasing more cells. Today we see that plan in dollars and cents,” says Debbie Reyes of the Prison Moratorium Project. The Governor’s budget calls for increasing capacity of state prison fire camps.
“The Californians who have suffered the most from cuts to the safety net, to public housing, to job programs, and to increases in the cost of higher education are the same Californians whose family members have been swept into prisons and jails,” says Emily Harris, statewide coordinator of Californians United for a Responsible Budget. “Let’s be clear that the state has been spending money on poor Californians and communities of color. That money has been spent on more police, jails, more prisons — programs that destroy lives, destroy families and destroy neighborhoods.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MAY 3, 2013
Demand Stronger Population Reduction Strategies and No Prison Expansion
CONTACT: Emily Harris, 510-435-1176 (Available Friday morning, May 3rd at 7:30am for comment)
Who: Californians United for a Responsible Budget. Speakers will include Misty Rojo of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Roger White of Critical Resistance, Vanessa Nelson or Life Support Alliance and Diana Zuñiga and Emily Harris of Californians United for a Responsible Budget and additional experts will be available for comment on specific aspect of the plan.
What: Press Conference Call. 218-936-4141, code #5409430
When: Friday, May 3 2013. Immediately following CDCR’s press conference scheduled for 9:30am. CURB’s press conference call will begin at 11:00am.
Sacramento: Governor Brown’s ongoing resistance to sentencing and parole reform, even as he submitted a court-ordered plan to reduce the state’s prison population near midnight, was met with outrage and disappointment by Californians across the state. His plan relies on increasing the number of cells available to hold prisoners and doesn’t include a single sentencing reform while making small changes to credits and parole practices.
“There is barely anything here to reduce the prison population. It’s a plan to return to the days of perpetual prison expansion,” says Isaac Lev Szmonko of Critical Resistance a member of CURB, a coalition of more than 50 organizations. ”His plan returns us to the nightmare of a constantly growing prison system – a proven failure – that has scarred two generations of California families and left a huge hole in the state budget.”
The Governor’s clear preference for expanding the prison system is made clear by the fifth page of the filing: Defendant’s “preference” is not to pursue implementation of any measures listed below, other than complete scheduled construction projects and expanding fire camp capacity.
The Governor’s plan includes the addition of 2,855 new prison beds, a 1,250 bed expansion of the fire camps and leasing 1,600 cells from county jails. The CDCR’s ongoing ‘infill’ bed expansion at existing prisons is not mentioned in the plan.
The Governor commits to requesting “that the Legislature expand medical parole and establish a parole process for certain elderly inmates determined to be at low-risk for recidivism” (p.37).
“Expanding parole for the seriously ill and for a small portion of elderly prisoners are only two of dozens of opportunities available,” says Diana Zuñiga of CURB, which has proposed changes to sentencing and parole practices that could meet the population reduction target even after returning prisoners from out of state. “We call on the legislature to step up and demonstrate the leadership the Governor has failed to bring. Cancel all prison construction plans, make real reductions to the prison population, and end the practice of out-of-state transfers.”
Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at UC Irvine, compared Governor Brown’s continued resistance to the Court Order to “the Southern governors of the 1950s declaring their defiance of federal court desegregation orders.”
The overwhelming passage of Prop. 36 is widely recognized as a mandate from voters to turn away from three decades of prison expansion. A poll conducted by Tulchin research for the ACLU found that 87% of Californians agreed “our prisons and jails are overcrowded and we should find other ways to hold people accountable for non-violent offenses.”
CURB is a statewide alliance of over 50 organizations working to curb prison spending by reducing the number of people in prison and the number of prisons in California. In response to the Ninth District Federal Judges ruling requiring the Administration to put together a plan to reduce the prison population by 9,000 before December 31, 2013, we have put together a list of recommendations. We believe the only sustainable solution to reducing overcrowding is to reduce the number of people who are imprisoned in California.
We understand that some of these proposed measures would double count prisoners. By implementing just a few of these recommendations, the state of California could easily reduce the prison population well below the court mandated 137.5% design capacity, and do so in a permanent, sustainable way that does not utilize out-of-state or in-state transfers or require the construction of any additional beds. In fact, if the proposals outlined in this document were put in place, California could bring back the nearly 8,500 prisoners currently housed in out-of-state facilities, saving the state approximately $318 million and cancel $810 million in in-fill prison construction projects.
Create Parole Eligibility for the Elderly. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia define processes for releasing older prisoners, the ages covered range from 45 to 70 years old. Ninety percent of California prison healthcare costs come from older prisoners. This population has the lowest recidivism rate of any segment of the prison population.
Potential reduction: As of June 30, 2012 the population of prisoners 55 and older was 7,500; by 2014, that number is projected to be at 8,500.
Anticipated savings: $98,000-$138,000 per year per prisoner (conservative estimate: $735,000,000)
Specific strategies: amend Marsy’s Initiative with a 3/4 vote to reset time for age requirement of parole.
Parole Eligible Lifers. There are nearly 10,000 people serving life sentences that are eligible for parole. The Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) currently denies parole to more than 80 percent.
Potential reduction: Potential 20% reduction, as parole eligible lifers represent 20% of prison population.
Anticipated savings: $98,000-$138,000 per year per prisoner (for those over the age of 55).
Specific strategies: Repealing Marsy’s Law to reduce minimum length of time between parole hearings from three years to one year. Expedite parole approval for a selected category of lifers by gubernatorial decree or direction to the BPH.
Expand Good Time Credits for completing treatment, educational, and vocational programs, as well as allow 2nd strikers to retain good-time credits, and provide access to good time credits for people housed in the SHU.
Potential reduction: 22,758
Anticipated savings: $584,299,706
Specific strategies: Court authorization to waive state laws to achieve the constitutionally required goals; 2/3 vote of the legislature to change provisions for strikers; Violent offense credits passed by the Legislature could be waived by the court.
Expand Medical Parole for people who are permanently medically incapacitated.
Potential reduction: Up to 100 or more people annually.
Anticipated savings: $7,200,000 annually
Specific strategies: Legislative amendment to Cal. Penal Code section 3550(a) to expand eligibility for medical parole; deletion of language in Cal. Penal Code section 3550(h).
Remove Barriers to Compassionate Release for individuals who are terminally ill.
Potential reduction: More than 100 people annually.
Anticipated savings: In excess of $120,000 per person released a year
Specific strategies: Legislative amendment to Cal. Penal Code section 1170(e)(2)(A) expanding compassionate release eligibility to people with terminal illness that would produce death within one year, as opposed to six months.
Implement and Expand the Alternative Custody Program for primary caregivers of children.
Potential reduction: 1,023 (CDCR has approved 243 applications thus far.)
Anticipated savings: $2.5 million in 2014-2015; $5 million annually in subsequent fiscal years.
Specific strategies: Implementation of the ACP as defined under Cal. Penal Code section 1170.05; review and release eligible women whose cases have been categorically denied for reasons not stated in P.C 1170.05(d).
Expedite the Release of Proposition 36 Eligible Third Strikes and Amend the Three Strikes Law. Implement Prop 36 to its full capacity, and the further amendment of the law to expand the scope of the Proposition 36 amendment.
Potential reduction: 3,000
Anticipated savings: $150,000,000
Specific strategies: Legislative amendment to create a time-line for processing petitions; CDCR implementation of a program to inform three-strike eligible prisoners of the process, as well as contact info for their attorney.
Decriminalize Drug Possession. Reduce penalties for drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. States such as South Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio have reclassified some low-level property and drug felonies to misdemeanors.
Potential reduction: Up to 10,000 people per year
Anticipated savings: $1 billion in five years
Specific strategies: Pass SB 649; Legislative implementation of language outlined in SB 1506 (2011-2012).
Reduce sentences for Youth imprisoned in the adult system.
Potential reduction: Nearly 7,000 currently, increasing each year with new convictions.
Anticipated savings $3.5 billion (conservative estimate based on minimum amount the state pays to house a prisoner.)
Specific strategies: Pass and implement SB 260; Further Legislative amendment to prohibit District Attorneys from sentencing youth to adult prisons.
Reform Sentencing Laws to Reduce the Length of Prison Sentences; Rescind AB 109 Final Crime Exclusion. Create retrospective sentencing reform that would stop excessive sentences for convictions related to felony murder, gang enhancements and weapon enhancements.
Potential reduction 1,510
Anticipated savings: $78 million
More detailed information about proposed reforms is available by contacting CURB at 510-435-1176 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is offering an enthusiastic, self-starting, hardworking person an exciting internship in our Oakland and/or Los Angeles Office. We are a statewide alliance of organizations working to curb prison spending by reducing the number of people in prison and the number of prisons in California. The internship provides the opportunity to gain experience in research, outreach, grassroots organizing, media campaigns, coalition and movement building, public education, policy advocacy and social justice work. Working directly with the Statewide Coordinator and Field Organizer the intern(s) will have the opportunity to develop leadership and organizing skills while working alongside an amazing group of anti-prison activists.
CURB is seeking an Intern(s) who can assist the organization in some of the following areas: generating broad community support for reducing the number of people in prison in California; maintaining connections between CURB and people inside prison through written correspondence; supporting media campaigns; maintaining organizational website; assisting with administrative tasks; helping with grassroots organizing and outreach efforts; supporting legislative advocacy; recruiting future interns and volunteers; help expand our current volunteer program and other duties as necessary.
Interns are asked to make a minimum commitment of 3 months to the organization and to meet a number of work hours agreed upon in advance with the alliance. All positions are unpaid.
Californians United for a Responsible Budget is committed to investing in the leadership of people of color and formerly incarcerated people. All interested individuals, including women, people of color, formerly incarcerated people, and queer people are encouraged to apply.
To apply, e-mail your resume, and cover letter, to Emily Harris at email@example.com Please put “CURB Internship” in the subject line. Feel free to contact Emily with any questions 510-435-1176.
Our Oakland office is located near the corner of Webster and 14th St. and is served by the 12th Street BART, and multiple bus lines. The office is wheelchair accessible.
Our Los Angeles office is located at the Chuco’s Justice Center at 1137 E. Redondo Blvd. in
Inglewood. The office is not wheelchair accessible.
For more information about CURB visit: www.curbprisonspending.org
Media Advisory—Photo Opportunity
When: Monday, April 22nd; 11am
What: In commemoration of Earth Day, community organizers will descend on the new San Mateo County jail site in hazmat suits to illustrate the toxic nature of the jail expansion plan. A press conference will follow.
Where: 70 Chemical Way, Redwood City
Contact: Isaac Ontiveros, Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Ph. 510 444 0484
The site of the proposed new San Mateo County jail was so permeated by volatile compounds that the Department of Toxic Substances Control declared the land too hazardous for residential use, causing the county to engage in a massive and costly cleanup of the site. Community pressure succeeded in winning a more thorough cleanup of the site than was originally intended, but there are still unanswered questions about the impacts of living on the land for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition to the harm associated with housing people on contaminated land, community members will be discussing the social toxicity of imprisonment, addressing the negative impacts on mental, physical, family, and community health. Tying in with Earth Day events throughout the area, jail opponents will wear protective hazardous materials suites and make the point that this jail project is toxic, with the majority of those locked in the jail coming from low-income communities of color—the same communities faced with the negative impacts of environmental racism.
A report from San Mateo County’s own manager and recommended by the county’s Health System, outlines alternatives to building a new jail, calling for expanding existing programs such as residential treatment for mental illness or drug detox, alternative sentencing, mental health programs and re-entry services. The Health System’s detailed recommendations would take three to six months to get up and running, serve 2,100 residents and cost the county $8.38 million a year. The new jail would not open until 2015 and will cost $160 million to build and at least $30 million a year to operate.
Expert speakers on the social, financial, and environmental impacts of the jail project, including impacts of the jail on immigrant communities, will be available for interviews. Colorful banners and costumes will also make the press conference visually stunning.
Please join us for a conversation examining the relationship between Immigration Enforcement and the connection to organizing efforts in San Mateo County to defeat the $160 million dollar jail expansion plan. The event will look at lessons learned from Contra Costa County, where organizing against immigration enforcement helped win the fight against a new jail. The event will provide participants with opportunities to plug in to organizing efforts in San Mateo County. Help us win the fight against jail expansion and come get involved!
Thursday April 25th
Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Ave., Redwood City
Light snacks will be provided
Están invitados a una conversación examinando la relación entre inmigración y los esfuerzos en el condado de San Mateo para vencer la expansión de la cárcel que le había de costar al condado 160 millón de dólares. El evento examinará lo que aprendieron en el condado de Contra Costa, donde los esfuerzos y la campaña contra inmigración, ayudaron en la pelea contra una nueva cárcel. El evento le dará a participantes la oportunidad de involucrarse en esfuerzos contra inmigración y contra una nueva cárcel, aquí en el condado de San Mateo.
Jueves, 25 de Abril
7:00 PM- 9:00 PM
Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Ave., Redwood City
Se servirán aperitivos
Event Sponsors/Patrocinadores de Evento:
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO), Critical Resistance, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Stop the San Mateo Jail Coalition, & United Parents Committee – San Mateo Chapter.