We were able to win more time to coment on the environmental implications of the proposed women’s jail in Lancaster.
Through our strong organizing, LANMJ’s won an extension of the public comment period holding the County accountable to translating its Environmental Impact Report summary in Spanish and holding a public meeting with Spanish interpretation available.
The county is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 6-8pm at the Lancaster Public Library (601 W. Lancaster Blvd.). If you are available please come out to learn about the propsoed women’s jail.
We also plan to hold a mobilization in Lancaster on March 2nd. Please save the date and we will send additional details soon.
We need you to share your opposition today and stand with us on March 2nd!
Webinar: How San Francisco Stopped a New Jail
Join CURB on Thursday, February 18, from 12pm-1pm (PT) for a webinar about how the No New SF Jail Coalition stopped San Francisco’s proposed new jail, and learn valuable lessons on how to stop a jail in your town!
Since early 2013, CURB members and allies have fought tirelessly to stop plans for a new jail in SF, building an incredible network of allies and encountering obstacles of all shapes and sizes. Almost three years of organizing came to fruition in December when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected funding for the new jail.
While this was a historic victory, the fight is not over. SF won’t be building a new jail any time soon, but more than 40 other counties are still trying to build new jails, and the governor is looking to allocate another $250 million for jail construction in the upcoming state budget.
During this webinar, community leaders who have been at the center of SF’s jail fight will share their strategies, stories, victories, failures, and advice on what ultimately made their fight successful.
Click here to register for the webinar.
As of February 1st, it will be 181 days that the men in Pelican Bay SHU have been tortured by sleep deprivation. For six months the men have been awakened every 30 minutes, 48 times per day, due to so-called “security/welfare checks” by guards.
“…they’re killing us with these Guard One/Welfare Checks…I don’t know what to do? We really are suffering right now and I can assure you that this is worse than the hunger strikes.” PB SHU prisoner Oct. 2015
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) claims these ‘checks’ will prevent suicide. Instead, these checks are causing serious psychological and physical harm. John R. Martinez, in solitary for 15 years, stated that the checks “are counter-productive to their so called intended purpose (mental health care) and serve zero legitimate penological purpose other than to harass and mentally torment us prisoners.”
Ride-shares will be leaving from Southern California, Santa Cruz, the SF Bay Area, and the North Coast. PHSS will help with travel expenses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-426-5322 if you need or can provide a ride. You can also message Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity on Facebook.
We must keep the pressure on! Thank you for everything you do and we know you will continue to stand with us.
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
A member of Californians United for a Responsible Budget
We’re excited to announce that CURB is looking for a Development Intern and a Media and Communications Intern to join our team! These internships offer the opportunity for new members to gain experience in outreach, grassroots organizing, media campaigns, coalition and movement building, public education, policy advocacy and social justice work, while working alongside an amazing group of anti-prison activists. Click here to view the full job descriptions, qualifications,and application requirements. Read the rest of CURB is looking for two new interns! »
In October, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) held its first of seven public meetings on the implementation of Prop 47 and how communities want to invest the savings.
The next four public meetings have been scheduled in Fresno, San Bernardino, LA and San Diego, and they need to hear from you!
This is the same Board that has doled out over $2 billion dollars for jail construction. We must ensure that these new jails don’t absorb any of the Prop 47 savings.
It is important that the BSCC hear a unified message from communities throughout the state: We want care in the community, not in jails; we want our people deciding what happens with the Prop 47 savings, not law enforcement.
Please share this meeting information with folks you know who might be interested in attending these mobilizations.
Meeting Dates and Locations Read the rest of Tell state officials: Prop 47 savings belong in communities! »
Yesterday evening, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation released “An Update to the Future of California Corrections,” an update to the department’s master plan from 2012. CURB’s Lizzie Buchen released the following statement in response to the plan:
“This report reveals the failure of CDCR’s efforts to sustainably reduce incarceration and resolve the humanitarian crisis of its prisons, and instead outlines a concerning vision for an expanded and more powerful prison system. Four years ago, the department laid out plans to end its deadly prison crowding, stop shipping prisoners out of state against their will, and save billions of dollars. Yet as of the release of this new plan, the CDCR remains under federal court oversight, incarcerates more than 5,000 people in other states, and has a budget that has grown by nearly $1.5 billion since 2012.
“Instead of presenting plans for a durable solution to prison overcrowding, the CDCR is evading responsibility for its failures, blaming the federal judges for affirming the 137.5% overcrowding limit upheld by the Supreme Court, and pointing to undefined “complex factors” to explain why the promised “population and budget reductions did not materialize”. During the course of these four years, the Governor vetoed several bills that could have further reduced the population. He opposed every population reduction measure ordered by the courts and did not support Prop 47, even though he appears to take credit for the success of these reforms. These actions amount to a persistent, ruthless, and brazen resistance to change.
“When Governor Brown began pushing realignment as his solution to overcrowding, many organizations, including CURB, warned that it was not a sustainable solution; that it would inevitably lead to jail expansion at the county level; and that it was no substitute for substantive and necessary sentencing reform. Today, more than 40 counties are expanding their jail systems, and the governor has just put forth a budget that adds another $250 million for jail construction and predicts a growing prison population. As we have said for years, the only sustainable solution is to reduce the prison and jail population and start closing prisons.
“Despite its original requirement to close the deteriorating prison in Norco by this June, the CDCR states that “no prison is proposed for closure in the near future.” Instead, it lays out a long-term plan of renovating or replacing the state’s 12 oldest prisons, which indicates intentions to sink billions more of Californians’ tax dollars into a decaying system rather than plan to maintain or increase any reductions to the population, and raises a question of whether the governor plans to further expand the prison system.
“The plan also portends an expanded role for the CDCR as it continues extending its reach into communities, following people after they leave prison under the guise of “reentry”. And with increased funds for prison-based programs, the department seeks to revamp its tarnished image into that of a system seemingly focused on rehabilitation. In reality, the system’s deep and pervasive culture of abuse, racism, and dehumanization, coupled with its fundamental punitive premise, interfere with any attempts at true rehabilitation and support.
“The CDCR’s renewed efforts to build its way out of its crisis are further evidence that the state is trying to delay the inevitable: Comprehensive and retroactive sentencing reforms that will significantly and sustainably reduce the prison population. These reforms must include people with convictions for “serious” and “violent” offenses, who now makes up more than 93 percent of the California prison population and who are serving sentences that are wildly out of step with the moral standards of most of the world.
“With the futures of the state’s most disadvantaged communities at stake, the state must stop funneling money into reinforcing its brutal and destructive prison system. We must begin making investments that will sustainably reduce incarceration, close prisons, and provide true opportunities for people in low-income communities to thrive.”###
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 7, 2016
Governor reneges on promise for sustainable prison population reduction, funds new jail construction
Press contact: Lizzie Buchen – 510-435-1176, email@example.com
Sacramento – Despite years of promises to find a long-term solution to California’s prison crisis, Gov. Brown’s 2016-17 budget projects future prison population growth, extends the use of in-state and out-of-state contract beds, spends $250 million on new jail expansion, refurbishes the Norco prison that has been slated for closure for years, and lacks any reforms that would meaningfully reduce the prison population. Rather than investing in vital community-based programs, the budget focuses on in-custody services.
“This budget is a joke. For decades advocates have pushed for long-term solutions to prison overcrowding and the closure of Norco. The Governor is showing his commitment to slowly refurbishing a facility known for it’s horrendous living conditions by giving $6 million towards repairing Norco,” says Diana Zuñiga of CURB. “After years of making positive strides towards meeting the court order to reduce the prison population, it is infuriating that this budget says nothing about bringing our loved ones home through sustainable sentencing and parole reform.”
Despite significant community opposition across the state, the budget allocates more funding for jail construction to counties for the fourth time in 8 years, bringing the total during this period to $2.45 billion and over 9,000 jail beds. Acknowledging the controversy of the ongoing expenditure, the budget states, “Given the state’s significant investment in this area, future consideration for additional funding for this purpose would require significant justification and a demonstrable need.” The 2016-2017 budget designates $250 million of General Fund spending to counties that have received a partial jail construction award or have never received an award from past funding sources.
“Across the country people are discussing strategies to reduce imprisonment, yet this budget prioritizes locking more people into cages by wasting $250 million on further jail construction, showing the Governor and the State’s blatant disregard for the wellbeing of California’s residents,” says Lily Fahsi-Haskell of Critical Resistance. “It is past time our State budget prioritize social services, education, health and housing, not imprisonment.”
Today’s Budget shows that the state prison population has been reduced by 4,700 due to Proposition 47, yet estimates savings of only $29.3 million — substantially lower than had been predicted and advocates had hoped, as 65% of the savings are slated for mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment and diversion programs. A February 2015 report from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that the state savings from Proposition 47 would range from $100 million to $200 million.
“The extremely low level of savings predicted by the governor is a disgrace to communities who critically need reinvestment in education and mental health services,” said John Jones, Local Organizer at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “Proposition 47 resulted in thousands more people being released from prison than initially anticipated, which means that savings should actually be higher than predicted.”
CURB will join the California Partnership and other anti-prison and anti-poverty groups at four rallies and press conferences across the state on Friday, Jan 8, to discuss Gov. Brown’s proposed 2016-17 state budget.
Press Conference locations:
Riverside: 11am – 3737 Main St. (Contact: Maribel Nunez, 562-569-4051, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bakersfield: 11am – Liberty Bell, 1415 Truxtun Ave. (Contact: Josth Stenner, 661-858-3577, email@example.com)
San Francisco: 12:45pm – California State Building, 355 McAllister St. (Contact: Pete Woiwode, 510-504-9552,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Los Angeles: 1pm – State Building, 300 S. Spring St. (Contact: Aurora Garcia, 562-519-3106, email@example.com)
Right now we are focused on getting 500 letters submitted to opposed the proposed women’s jail on that grounds that it is environmentally toxic.
Just a bit of a reminder from last year, part of building a jail, the county must do an Environmental Impact Report, which assesses the negative impacts that the construction of the jail will have on the environment and the people.
Thanks for growing with us at CURB this year. Together we’re growing a future for our whole state, with services and support that all people need to thrive.
This year we helped change the law to allow more alternatives to incarceration. Next year will be a big one for CURB as we continue to build a movement against mass incarceration and jail construction. And towards a brighter future for all Californians.
We are $9,200 away from our end of the year fundraising goal!
In 2016, we will push to expand elder parole and support broad sentencing reform. We will work towards bringing people back from out of state prisons and work towards closing prisons not building new facilities. We will support local jail fights up and down the state while envisioning stronger and healthier communities.
Look out for future emails with full details on the “It’s Time” Mobilizations, happening
Your help makes CURB’s work possible and allows us to multiply the impact of great organizations across California.
Fighting hard and dreaming big,
Diana Zuñiga and Lizzie Buchen
Californians United for a Responsible Budget
The power of our coalition comes from how incredible, unique, and dedicated our member organizations are. So today we wanted to celebrate the relationships that make our work possible. And highlight the success that the CURB coalition has experienced.
Making Policy Change Real: In 2015 we saved $20 million from going into new prisons. And thousands of children could be reunified with their parents because of the expansion to alternative custody we helped win through SB 219.
Making History: Just this month, we celebrated a monumental victory as years of organizing came to fruition and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected a controversial proposal to build a new maximum security jail.
Expanding Our Reach: Over the last three years, we doubled our membership size by organizing and building a shared vision of reinvesting state and local money into community solutions, education, and social services.
Support Grassroots Organizing: We have strengthened over 10 local fights against jail and prison expansion by organizing community forums, policy briefings, and capacity building trainings.
Shifting the Conversation: This year we have impacted the public perception of criminal justice issues by being featured in nearly 100 news articles and broadcasts, and releasing two statewide reports.
We are so thrilled to be able to work with such awe-inspiring organizations. Thanks for being a part of CURB.
With hope and love,
Statewide Development and Membership Coordinator
Californians United for a Responsible Budget