Take action tomorrow to say, “No new jail in San Francisco!”

Dear Supporter,

Tomorrow join us as we raise our voices to the SF Board of Supervisors and demand they remove the proposed new SF jail from the Capital Plan. Now is an opportunity to build real solutions for our future San Francisco instead of building more cages. With your support, we’ve been fighting hard, and on Wednesday we can take action again: No New Jail in San Francisco! 

You may have heard that yet another SF Jail scandal has emerged in the news, demonstrating the callous and cruel nature of the SF Jail system. San Francisco sheriff deputies have been orchestrating “gladiator fights” between people locked up inside the county jailsThis disturbing news couldn’t help make our campaign more clear: San Francisco doesn’t need another jail where such systemic violence can take place!

Join us on Wednesday at City Hall to stop the proposed jail!

When: Wednesday, April 15th at 1pm
Where: City Hall, Room #250, San Francisco
Click here to view the agenda.

Can’t make it but ready to take action? Send an email to Board of Supervisors Farrell, Tang, Wiener, Mar and Yee and demand that they take a position against the Capital Plan.

Together we can fight this proposed new jail and invest in community power.

In solidarity,
 Coral Feigin
Critical Resistance Oakland and WRAP,
CURB Member Organizations

 

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Victory in Sacramento! Bringing us closer to our long term goal

We’ve done it, Supporter!

All of CURB’s sponsored bills passed in the Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees thanks in large part to the powerful testimonies from CURB member organizations and the hundreds of people who tweeted their support.

California representatives received over 750 tweets from supporters like you! 

The bills will be moving forward to the appropriations committee where the price tag of each bill will be determined. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop on more ways to support the fight to reduce the prison population and reinvest money into the communities that need them most.

As a reminder for those interested in following the corrections budget, you can tune in every Wednesday at 1:30pm to watch the Assembly Budget Subcommittee hearing on Public Safety. And every Thursday at 9:30am, you can listen to the Senate Budget Subcommittee hearings on Public Safety.

Thanks and peace,

Diana Zuñiga
Interim Statewide Coordinator
Californians United for a Responsible Budget

P.S., Join us on April 27th in Sacramento for formerly imprisoned people’s Quest for  Democracy!

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Tweet your support to reduce the prison population today!

#BringOurEldersHome

Supporter,

Tomorrow is the big day!

On Tuesday, April 7th, all of CURB’s sponsored bills will be heard in the Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees. We trust that our legislators will make the right decisions on our behalf but, every now and again, we all need a little encouragement.

Let California legislators know that they have the public’s full support:

Tweet your support for Elder Parole (SB 224) now.

Tweet your support for Credit Incentives (AB 512) now.

Tweet your support for the Alternative Custody Program (SB 219) now.

The support and influence you provide is crucial to pushing our state representatives to reduce the prison population and invest in a durable and sustainable solution.

We believe in programs and services for all. We believe in reunifying families torn apart by state violence. We believe our elders have a right to live with dignity. And, through your support of these legislative bills, we can #BringOurEldersHome, #KeepFamiliesTogether and build strong communities. Thank you,

Diana Zuñiga
Interim Statewide Coordinator
Californians United for a Responsible Budget

P.S. If you can’t join us at the State Capitol tomorrow, you can tune in to the hearings via Cal Channel here.

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We’re off to the State Capitol!

 

Dear Supporter,

All of CURB’s sponsored bills, including AB 512, will be heard in the Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees next week on April 7th. We are working hard to get them passed, but we need your support – by attendance or tweets – in the process!

Please join us at the State Capitol on April 7th to lend your support for:

AB 512: Room 126 at 9 am

SB 224: Room 4203 at 9:30 am

SB 219: Room 4203 at 9:30 am

If you can’t make it out, you can watch the hearings via Cal Channel here.

As we gear up for our trip to the State Capitol, where we will ensure the community’s demands are heard, we still need your voice at home to amplify the message. Be sure to look out for ways to engage on social media on Monday, April 6th. 

Thank you,

Patrisse Cullors 
Dignity and Power Now,
CURB Member Organization

P.S., Don’t forget to check out Diana’s overview of this year’s corrections budget in the Bayview! Budget hearings are also happening next week so stay tuned for more updates.

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Forced to fight in the SF Jail? Stop the jail plan NOW!

Supporter,

Thank you for standing with us this month as we packed the room and demanded answers from the Department of Works and the Sheriff’s Department. Last week horrific story on prisoner abuse in SF County Jail surfaced, reinforcing what we already knew – SF County Jail is not a safe, therapeutic, or healthy place for any San Franciscan.

 Say NO to a New Jail in SF!

#NoMoreJails

This story isn’t unique, nor is it an isolated scenario. It is unacceptable! 

We need you to continue to take action with us by keeping the pressure on the SF Board of Supervisors.

As the conditions in our county jail system continue to deteriorate, those of us fighting the jail will use every opportunity to ensure that our communities do not also deteriorate as a result.

The momentum to STOP THE SF REPLACEMENT JAIL has only increased! Your voice is needed now, more than ever. 

This week we will send you a series of additional action steps so please look out for our emails. And so our struggle continues!
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A durable and sustainable plan: Reducing corrections spending in California

March 26, 2015

In 2013, hundreds of organizations came together to oppose billions of dollars for expansion. The organizations were featured in a Sacramento Bee ad that highlighted the need to restore services, reduce the prison population and stop expansion.

by Diana Zuñiga

The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.

This year, Gov. Brown’s proposed budget brings the total spending on corrections to $12.676 billion. General Fund spending for corrections is up 1.7 percent from $9.995 billion to $10.16 billion, and special funds include $2.516 billion for corrections. Overall budget spending is up 1.4 percent, meaning that spending on corrections is growing faster than the rest of the budget.

This year, Gov. Brown’s proposed budget brings the total spending on corrections to $12.676 billion. 

As of February, California’s prison population has reached the court ordered target of 113,700 people in prison almost a year ahead of schedule. Some of this is due to the implementation of Public Safety Realignment in 2011.

Another substantial decrease is due to the release of about 2,700 people – and currently almost 150 people per week – under the voter initiative Proposition 47 that passed in November. The implementation of policies that grassroots organizations have been demanding for decades like Elder Parole and the expansion of good time credits has also contributed to the population decrease – and can continue bringing the population down.

A little reminder – What is the Recidivism Reduction Fund?

The push for the implementation and expansion of smart parole reforms was catalyzed in the fall of 2013. In an effort to meet the court deadline to reduce prison overcrowding, Gov. Brown, with Speaker Pérez by his side, proposed a shocking piece of last minute legislation: SB 105. The proposal included a billion dollars to expand prison capacity by sending more prisoners out of state.

Groups that had been working on poverty and on prison issues for years came together, organized by two statewide networks , the California Partnership and CURB, to demand an end to prison expansion and a reinvestment of state funds in anti-poverty programs. This opposition created enough political coverage for Sen. Darrell Steinberg and Senate Democrats to stand up and cut a deal that prevented 6,500 additional California prisoners from being sent out of state.

Tearing Down the Wall of Poverty Mobilization, organized by California Partnership in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2015-16 budget, brought a crowd of advocates to San Bernardino City Hall. CURB member organizations such as All of Us or None Riverside and Time for Change Foundation participated in the rally and press conference.

It also resulted in millions of dollars allocated to increase prison capacity and created the Recidivism Reduction Fund aimed at reducing recidivism for people in prison and people on parole.

However, as of today, some of the goals of the Recidivism Reduction Fund have not been realized due to a delay in implementation by the California Department of Corrections, revealed in the last few budget hearings. What has also been revealed is that California elected officials have been questioning the increase in the corrections budget and why CDCR has had unforeseeable costs such as overtime. And, most importantly, our elected officials have been asking for a durable and sustainable plan to continue reducing the population.

The good

The good is that sentencing and parole reforms are working. Over the past two years, CURB, its member organizations and supporters have prioritized expanding good time credit, implementing elder parole, expanding medical parole, and making the Alternative Custody Program accessible. Last year, the court and California elects listened.

Currently, over 4,000 people have been released due to the expansion of good time credit for non-violent second strikers. Over 100 elders have returned to their communities because of Elder Parole. Elder Parole is currently being implemented by the administration for people who are 60 years and older and have served 25 years of their time. Fewer than 100 people have been released under Medical Parole. And ACP is not being implemented efficiently, which has led to hardly anyone getting released to community supervision.

The good is that sentencing and parole reforms are working.

All and all, these programs have been successful, returning people to their families and communities. And we know we can do better.

Diana Zuñiga of CURB speaks at the Tearing Down the Wall of Poverty Mobilization in response to Gov. Brown’s 2015-16 budget in Los Angeles.

The BAD

The availability of funding is not bad, but the way that it is being allocated is steering away from the need to support the almost 8,000 people who are back in their communities in need of services, employment and housing. The last budget hearings referenced almost $28.2 million that is now available in the Recidivism Reduction Fund. CDCR is estimating that $16 million of this money was unused due to delays in implementation of services inside prisons and there was a $12.2 million savings from the services that did reduce recidivism.

Now CDCR is asking that $12.6 million of the Recidivism Reduction Fund be funneled to “community reentry facilities.” In the budget, these are characterized as pilot reentry facilities; however, in a bill, SB 628, they are being characterized as pilot reentry prisons. The target counties to open up these facilities are Madera, Kern, Imperial and Los Angeles.

These problematic pilot reentry prisons sound very similar to the promotion of seven “Community Correctional Facilities” or “Centers“ that were established and operated to offer programs for the treatment of addiction to alcohol or controlled substances based on the therapeutic community model to increase the likelihood of successful parole. This is on top of the $15.6 million for 13 Re-entry Hubs at existing prisons for people serving less than four years that they are already utilizing.

Mark-Anthony Johnson of Dignity and Power Now, a member organization of CURB, speaks at the Tearing Down the Wall of Poverty Mobilization organized by California Partnership in Los Angeles along with health and human service advocates.

Additionally, CDCR is asking to increase contract bed capacity again, which the legislature limited in the 2013 fight. The department is asking for $495 million for contract beds, representing a 4 percent increase from last year – about $20 million more. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has recommended that the legislature not approve this. The LAO also reported that a reduction of one person in state prison saves the state about $9,500, while a reduction of one person in a contract bed saves the state $18,500.

The ugly

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is still slating prison expansion at existing prisons at Donovan in San Diego and Mule Creek in Ione. They have already wasted $810 million to begin constructing these three new facilities. Now the department is asking for $35.5 million from the General Fund and $90,000 from the Inmate Welfare Fund to operate 2,376 new prison beds.

Last year, CDCR opened up the Enhanced Alternative Custody Program, with an operating cost of $2.4 million for 82 women. In this year’s budget, the department hopes to add about 82 beds to another Enhanced Alternative Custody Program facility and an additional 305 beds in contract facilities for people in women’s prisons. This is also after already opening beds for women at McFarland Private Prison.

A durable and sustainable plan

In budget hearings this term, Sen. Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer and CDCR all praised the progress CDCR has made towards population reduction and suggested that we need to make some of these good reforms law. They asked for a durable and sustainable plan that will reduce recidivism and increase safety.

Although there is a push towards expanding capacity, CURB and its member organizations are ready. Collectively we are sponsoring bills that lead us towards a long-term plan:

  • SB 224 (Liu): Elder Parole would codify and expand access to the existing Elderly Parole Program by lowering the eligibility requirements for parole consideration to people who are 50 years or older and who have served at least 15 years of their current sentence. Sponsored by CURB and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
  • AB 512 (Stone): Program Credit Incentives for Incarcerated People will expand the number of credits people can receive in sentence reductions – from six weeks per year to 18 weeks per year off their time served – and will apply this change retroactively. Although not everyone in prison is eligible for expanded credits under this bill, we see this bill as a step in the right direction because it provides credits to Second Strikers and people with serious or violent crimes as long as they don’t exceed the limitations of the voter passed and amended Three Strikes initiatives – i.e., 20 percent or one-fifth time off of one’s sentence – and people serving time for a parole violation that do not have a new term. Sponsored by CURB, Dignity and Power Now, American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on Legislation and Ella Baker Center.
  • SB 219 (Liu): Alternative Custody Program will create a timeline to ensure a timely process of ACP applications, giving the applicant an opportunity to appeal the decision. It will allow people with prior mental and medical conditions to be eligible for the program – in the past they have been excluded – and will encourage enrollment in medical coverage for participants. Sponsored by CURB and Justice Now.

Common sense says support SB 224, the Elder Parole Program, to reduce the prison population and corrections spending and get people back to their families and communities. – Photo courtesy of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

Passing these bills is a reasonable step towards reducing overcrowding and spending on California state prisons. We are going to need a lot of support this budget and legislative cycle to make sure that these bills are passed to decrease the population and lead to a decrease in corrections spending.

The first hearing for Elder Parole and the Alternative Custody Program will be April 7 and we will also hear more about the Recidivism Reduction Fund at an April 8 Assembly Budget Hearing. To get involved, please take action now, at http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51040/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15968.

We ask if you are an organization that wants to send a support letter, if you are a family member who can help us get support from your loved one inside prison or if you are an individual who wants to be a part of our quick response team, please take action now here. You can get the most up to date information about the budget and bills here: http://curbprisonspending.org/take-action/advocacy/.

Passing these bills is a reasonable step towards reducing overcrowding and spending on California state prisons.

This package will lead us to a cost effective, common sense method of lowering recidivism, keeping our communities safe and saving taxpayer money.

We have 50 more ways to continue to reduce the prison population in California on our website. To learn more, visit us at http://curbprisonspending.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/50waysCurb.pdf.

Diana Zuñiga, interim statewide coordinator of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), can be reached at Diana@curbprisonspending.org or 1137 E. Redondo Blvd., Inglewood CA 90302 or 213-864-8931.

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Catching you up on the Budget Battle

 

 

 

Dear Supporter,

These past few weeks have been very busy in the capital. Many of our members have gone to budget hearings and have witnessed our elected officials questioning the increase in corrections spending and asking for a durable, sustainable solution.

We have part of the solution here!

We knew that the corrections budget is slated to increase 1.7% and that they are asking for $20 million to increase contract bed capacity. We also learned that CDCR is attempting to use funding for reentry support for people on parole (the Recidivism Reuction Fund) to pay for overtime costs and “pilot reentry facilitites” that will be run by law enforcement. And trying to open up smaller prisons for women.

But wait, hasn’t parole and sentencing reform measures actually decreased the population to below what the courts have been demanding?

Yes! And at the hearings Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer, and CDCR praised the progress and suggested that we need to make some of these reforms law to create a durable, sustainable plan.

And that is where we come in! CURB and it’s member organizations are sponsoring bills that lead us towards a long-term plan.

  • SB 224 (Senator Liu) –  Elder Parole
  • AB 512 (Assemblymember Stone) – Program Credit Incentives for Incarcerated People
  • SB 219 (Senator Liu) – Alternative Custody Program

Take action and learn more about our prison population reduction bill package.

We are going to need you now more than ever. We have part of the solution that could bring our loved ones home and stop the corrections budget from expanding. If you are a family member or want to be a part of our Quick Response Team make sure you take action now!

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Celebrate International Women’s Day!

 

Dear Supporter,This year’s International Women’s Day is honoring the fundamental work of mothers and other caregivers in the home, on the land and in the community.

We will discuss the contributions women have led in the fight against poverty, prisons, and war! And envision true opportunities for our communities.

Join us this Saturday as we introduce a global petition for a living wage for caregiving.

What: International Women’s Day: No to Austerity, Poverty, Prisons and War- A Living Wage for Mothers and All Caregivers

When: Saturday, March 7th, Noon-3pm

Where:
 LA Alliance for a New Economy, 464 Lucas Ave., LA 90017

The multi-media event will feature a concert with local performers, community resources, children’s activities, food and more.

Come out this Saturday to celebrate the work and role of women in our movement for a better world!

See you there,

Diana Zuñiga
Interim Statewide Coordinator
Californians United for a Responsible Budget 

Planning group: Alexandria House, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, Black community and labor rights activist Kokayi Jitahidi,   Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB); DCFS Give Us Back Our Children, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, Global Women’s Strike LA, Guerilla Food Not Bombs, Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater LA, Military Families Speak Out, LA No More Jails Coalition, Sin Barras, Veterans for Peace Los Angeles.

Co-Sponsors: Hunger Action LA, LA Alliance for a New Economy, LA Laborfest, Mothers Against Youth Genocide, Mujeres de Maiz, Rev. Janet G. McKeithen, Church in Ocean Park; media sponsor, KPFK Radio 90.7FM

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California Budget Battle Begins – Millions for Prisons?

Dear Supporter,

The budget battle is in session! And for people who support reducing the prison population and investing our resources into smart alternatives this is our year.

Today’s action is the first in a series from CURB on the California Budget Battle!

In January, the proposed budget was released and, if you remember, there continues to be a lot at stakeThe budget highlights our collective effort that resulted in the release of almost 5,000 people from California prisons due to the expansion of good time credit, elder parole, and medical parole!

However, the budget also includes plans to spend MILLIONS of our tax dollars to expand the prison system by thousands of new beds.

Now, we need to get ready for a series of important Assembly and Senate Budget Hearings in Subcommittee No. 5 on Corrections. The first two are tomorrow and this Thursday!

Take action and say no to millions of dollars for new prison beds!

Please join us in standing up for a budget that prioritizes services and programs for our most vulnerable Californians, and stops throwing our taxdollars down the rat hole of incarceration!

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Reminder: Let’s Pack the Room Today!

Supporter,

Let’s pack the house today and show how strong San Francisco’s opposition is to this controversial replacement jail proposal.

  • 12:00pm-2:00pm: Capital Planning Committee Meeting in City Hall.  at 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place, SF. This committee is voting on keeping the jail plan in the 10 year Capital Plan. We need anyone who can speak out against the jail to join us!
  • 5:30pm-6:00pm: March and Rally! Today our rally will start in front of the jail at 850 Bryant.  We will have a series of powerful speakers from TGI Justice Project, and more.  We will be joined by the BLO (Brass Liberation Orchestra) and march to the CASC for the Environmental Impact Community Meeting. Bring banners and signs and come prepared to dance!
  • 6:00pm-8:00pm: Environmental Impact Community Meeting. Sheriff Mirkarimi and staff from the Department of Public Works will be hosting a public meeting on the environmental impact of the $278 million dollar jail plan at the Community Assessment and Service Center (CASC) at 564 6th Street in San Francisco. Bring your best examples of the environmental impacts that jail and incarceration has on your life and your community.

San Francisco needs real solutions to public safety, housing, jobs, education, mental health care, not more of the same failed policies that harm our community. Justice is won when we build a future of opportunity for everyone, not more jails.

RSVP here and spread the word (on Facebook or by sharing the updated event flyer), it’s coming up quick!

Let’s do this!

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