One step closer to passing RISE!

We are happy to spread the news: Yesterday, June 27, 2017, the RISE Act (SB180 authored by Senator Holly Mitchell and Ricardo Lara) passed the California Assembly Public Safety Committee! After more than forty-five years of the War on Drugs, California is one step closer to passing legislation that moves toward undoing some of the harms caused by this attack on low income communities of color.

In June of 1971, President Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one” causing soaring arrest rates that deliberately targeted Black people. Nixon dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies and pushed through measures like mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. In the 1980s, during the height of the drug war hysteria, the number of arrests for all crimes had risen by 28%, while the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.

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Strength in Numbers

In April of this year I stood on the steps of the Capitol surrounded by a group of fierce advocates ready to speak truth to power on Prop 57. For years, I have worked alongside CURB and its members to bring our loved ones home, and our work on Prop 57 was one step closer to achieving our collective vision of liberation.

CURB works tirelessly to not only imagine a world without prisons and jails, but also to implement alternatives that center the work of those most impacted by incarceration. 

My husband and I founded Initiate Justice to engage people directly impacted by incarceration to fight for divestment from punitive systems and investment in people, communities, and restorative means of reducing harm. We joined CURB because their mission of care not cages aligns with our own and have worked together to create tangible changes, like the passing of Prop 57, which reduces prison sentences based on good time and milestone credits.

We need your help to keep moving transformative policies like this forward! [[First_Name]], would you donate $30, $100 or $500 today?

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Corrections spending keeps climbing: CA 2017-18 budget

Yesterday, Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 CA State Budget. Increased investment in incarceration puts us all in danger of falling into Jeff Sessions’ plan to heighten racialized state violence. Alarming investments include: 

  • increases $500 million for state corrections 
  • increases $1.5 million for local community corrections
  • refurbishes or replaces the 12 Oldest Prisons in California

On the contrary, Californian’s have been stepping up to address the irresponsible, harmful policies from the “tough on crime” era. The people have been working to have savings from recent parole and sentencing reform re-directed to the community, to support the continued success of community based reentry and development. Our legislature can still show Gov. Brown that we won’t accept his continued prioritization of imprisonment.

Will you join us in reaching out to press? Let’s make sure inflated spending on incarceration is reversed by our leaders in legislature.

With heightened federal pressure, we need to protect California’s most vulnerable populations by reducing spending on corrections and incarceration now more than ever. 

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Support the RISE Act, Reject Jeff Sessions’ war on drugs

Last week, Jeff Sessions published an op-ed in the Washington Post, that calls for a new wave of the war on drugs and tough sentencing: “Being soft on sentencing means more violent crime. It’s time to get tough again.”

The RISE Act is more important than ever!

The RISE Act will repeal costly and ineffective sentencing enhancements, reflecting the Legislature’s and voters’ consensus that we must divest from mass incarceration in order to invest in vitally needed public services.

We are thrilled by all the support coming forward for this vital sentencing reform and now is the time to keep the pressure on! To date, 140 organizations have supported the RISE act (see the complete list here).

Will you help us reach our goal of 200 letters of support before our next hearing!

Here are a few additional things you can do to support RISE: Read the rest of Support the RISE Act, Reject Jeff Sessions’ war on drugs »

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Beware of bloated corrections spending in 2017-18 budget

Last year, Governor Brown said he would develop a sustainable solution to California’s prison crisis.

But in this year’s budget, he made it clear that he wants to move the state in the opposite direction by increasing CDCR spending to an all time high.


Among the alarming moves, the budget:

  • increases $500 million for state corrections
  • increases $1.5 million for local community corrections
  • refurbishes or replaces the 12 Oldest Prisons in California

We need to make Californianas aware of this irresponsible, harmful budget and press our legislature to pass important legislation and implement Prop. 57 as voters intended. Our legislature can still show Gov. Brown that we won’t accept his continued prioritization of imprisonment. Read the rest of Beware of bloated corrections spending in 2017-18 budget »

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Join Us on Father’s Day!

 

Thank you to all those folks that came out to the LANMJ’s Mother’s Day event in May! This weekend we are celebrating Father’s Day at the Twin Towers and we want to invite you to join us.

We also wanted to share the amazing video that MiTú created after our Mother’s Day event!

You can share it on facebook and twitter too.

Will we see you on Father’s Day?

Date: Sunday, June 18th

Time: 9am-12pm

Location: Twin Towers Correctional Facility (450 Bauchet St. Los Angeles, 90012)

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Taking Up the Torch of Liberation Together!

In February 2017, in Oakland, California, we sat across from one another in a room full of people, each wearing passion and pain on our faces, eagerly awaiting the start of a strategy session to stop prison and jail expansion. The facilitator introduced us as the new CURB staff members who would be leading the coalition in a fight against the largest prison expansion plan in California’s history: the replacement or refurbishment of the state’s 12 oldest prisons. As we looked at all of the organizers, representing California communities from San Diego to the Bay, we greeted each other with a warm embrace, confident that we had joined a powerful coalition.

CURB and its members are the reason that we feel empowered to own our leadership and help move California to a state that does not rely on incarceration.

CURB’s annual gathering is only one example of the powerful cohesion generated between CURB members. Over the past 14 years, now with over 70 grassroots member organizations, CURB has successfully expanded parole and sentencing reforms including: medical and elder parole, good-time credits, and the Alternative Custody Programs. Since 2004 we have stopped over $9 billion in prison and jail construction funding through the budget and legislative processes. Our members have stopped jail expansion in San Francisco and defeated two contracts with private jails in Los Angeles, while delaying a $3.7 billion jail plan.

We need you now more than ever to step up and fight for a stronger California with CURB. [[First_Name]], would you donate $30, $100 or $500 today?

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Tell the Conference Committee to invest in care, not cages!

It’s go time for our California budget! Two weeks ago, Governor Jerry Brown released his revised state budget, increasing funding for CDCR to an all-time high of $11.4 billion. Although Brown’s budget projects a decline of the average daily prison population by approximately 2,000 in 2017-18 due to voter mandated criminal justice reforms like Proposition 57, $5.4 million has been committed to advancing a project to refurbish or rebuild the 12 oldest prisons in California. Brown’s increase in corrections spending and prison expansion efforts falls out of step with the will of the people of California who voted bring people home.

We need to make sure the legislature rejects irresponsible spending that fortifies and expands the prison system, and fails to support urgently needed programs and services in the community.

In a moment when federal pressure could lead to severe cuts to health and human services, as well as education, it seems like a no-brainer that funding should be cut from the state’s bloated corrections budget to protect the social safety net. Over the next few weeks, the legislature will work on producing its version of the budget, and they could vote on corrections funding to as early as this Thursday! Read the rest of Tell the Conference Committee to invest in care, not cages! »

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Envisioning Community Care for People with Mental Illness

More than $70 million had been cut from the Alameda county’s mental health care budget since 2007. Yet, Alameda County has the highest per capita incidence in the state of involuntary holds placed on individuals experiencing a mental health emergency.  

While the overall number of people locked up in Santa Rita Jail is decreasing, the percentage of people with mental health issues who are imprisoned there is on the rise. This disparity is caused by our failure to provide mental health services in the community, and the criminalization of mental illness.

Join Alameda County Jail Fight Coalition for a Town Hall envisioning what it would look like to provide #CareNotCages to members of our community with mental illness.

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Thank You & My Staff Transition!

It is with a lot of excitement and some sadness that I’m writing to let you all know that I will be transitioning out of my position as CURB’s Statewide Co-Coordinator at the end of May. I have had different roles as Organizer, Coordinator, and Staff Trainer in CURB for the past 4 ½ years. I am grateful to be part of this dynamic coalition of so many different opinions, experiences, and political frameworks but who all share the value/spirit of freedom emanating from our dreams and actions.

CURB is my political home. This home has been built upon the legacies of organizers like Rose Braz, Lisa Marie Alatorre, Debbie Reyes, Diana Block, Craig Gilmore, Ruthie Gilmore, Emily Harris and so many others. I feel grateful that the guidance of our most trusted movement leaders has been shared with me and led us into a state of growth for CURB. I could not have grown into the political thinker, organizer, and leader that I’ve become if it wasn’t for the years of struggle with my comrades, mentors, and opponents that pulled me into a greater understanding of myself and the world around me.

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