FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 10, 2017
Coalition Demands Reductions to Prison Budget to Combat Impending Federal Funding Threats
MEDIA CONTACT: Diana Zuniga, Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Diana@curbprisonspending.org or 213.864.8931
Sacramento— This morning, Governor Brown released California’s 2017-18 proposed budget – a budget that increases total funding on corrections to $11.3 billion (2017-18), up from $10.6 billion last year (2016-17). The budget projects a decline of the adult prison population by .7% due to voter mandated criminal justice reforms such as Proposition 57. Despite a projected decline in the state prison population, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will continue it’s notorious trend of expanding prison capacity by pushing forward with the California Leadership Academy (CLA). According to the budget this new prison will house approximately 250 male prisoners between the ages of 18-26.
“Why is the prison budget continuing to rise, if the population is going down?” asks Misty Rojo of Justice Now. The budget estimates that Prop 57 will reduce the average daily population by approximately 2,000 in 2017-18 with result in net savings of $22.4 million in 2017-18, yet the total corrections budget increases by over nearly $1 billion. Rojo continues, “If we continue to waste state resources to expand our massive prison system with the California Leadership Academy, instead of redirecting savings to programs that defend basic human rights such as housing, healthcare and education, that state is only perpetuating the prison overcrowding crisis.”
At a time when other states like Pennsylvania are moving towards prison closures in response to mounting budget deficit, advocates are outraged that California continues to expand prison capacity under the guise of rehabilitation. California prisons, in addition to having a track record of abuse and corruption, have a long history of wasting water and polluting the environment. Last year’s budget included $5.4 million to evaluate the state’s twelve oldest prisons for possible renovation or replacement.
“Governor Brown claims that one of his top priorities is to protect the environment yet the CDCR has been responsible for spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage into rivers,” says Jayda Rasberry of Dignity and Power Now. “States throughout the nation are moving towards prison closure or repurposing efforts and it is way past time for California to follow suit. Elected officials can close prisons and save money by leaning on at least five years of reforms that has reduced the prison population by thousands. If the Governor wants to improve the environment, he can start by closing prisons and not build more like the California Leadership Academy.”
With the imminent ascension of president-elect Donald Trump, who has threatened to repeal federal reforms including Obamacare, experts believe that California will face dramatic cuts to the social safety net and could stands to lose $20 billion under the Affordable Care Act. “The Governor has already made it a priority to improve our crumbling infrastructure and protect the environment,” says Maribel Nunez from California Partnership. “In addition, he has been a vocal proponent of decarceration through his work on Prop 57. 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 failing corrections budget to protect the social safety net. Now is the time for the Governor to take a stand against the racist and oppressive policies that will come down federally.”
The CURB coalition believes that to cover the high costs of rising medical care expenses, California should look to the state’s rising prison budget as the first place to make cuts, by continuing to pursue aggressive parole and sentencing reform efforts and to repeal all prison and jail expansion efforts.
CURB will be joining the California Partnership at a series of statewide press conferences to respond to today’s budget.
We are excited to announce that CURB is looking for a full-time Statewide Organizer in Los Angeles and a Development Intern to join our team!
CURB is seeking a highly organized, passionate person to serve as its Statewide Organizer. The individual will be responsible for strengthening CURB’s profile and work by representing CURB in the media and at convenings, actions, conferences, meetings, coalitions, networks and other public events. This person will work directly with and be trained by the Statewide Coordinator. They will work collaboratively with CURB member organizations to meet CURB’s goals and vision and maintain CURB’s internal communications, infrastructure, stability, and health. This position will support CURB member organizations build grassroots power in California in order to stop prison and jail expansion and reduce the number of people imprisoned in our state.
The Development Internship will provide 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 Organizer, the intern will have an opportunity to develop leadership and organizing skills while working alongside an amazing group of anti-prison activists.
We got word late yesterday, that Alameda County is racing forward with a terrible plan next Tuesday to spend over $61 million taxpayer dollars to build a new “mental health unit” at Santa Rita Jail. We need you to say NO to jail expansion and YES to community-based mental health care.
The Alameda Jail Fight Coalition has been organizing to stop the jail expansion for over a year, and we need you next Tuesday! Join us, January 10th to stop the Alameda Board of Supervisors from selecting a contractor to build the massive expansion project. We will continue the fight no matter what, but this may be one of the last opportunities to stop this ineffective and wasteful plan.
We critically need your support, to pressure the Supervisors to prioritize alternatives to meet Alameda’s urgent mental health-related needs. Bring your voice next Tuesday:
What: Mobilization to Demand the B.O.S. Vote Against Jail Expansion
When: Tuesday Jan. 10 at 10:30am
Where: 1221 Oak St, Oakland, CA. (Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, 5th floor) Read the rest of JAIL FIGHT GOING UP ON TUESDAY »
Thank you for standing with us in 2016. We appreciate all that you gave to CURB and look forward to taking this people power into 2017.
We are moving ahead quickly. Within the week, Governor Brown will unveil his proposed budget for 2017-2018, and CURB is ready.
This year, more than ever, we need to demand that our state government invest in California’s future, not our cages. We know that Sacramento’s decisions on how to distribute state funds have profound and immediate consequences for our communities’ lives and wellbeing. No matter what Gov. Brown proposes for the next year, CURB is committed to fighting for a just and moral budget, one that will direct resources towards social services, and away from prisons and policing.
Be on the lookout for our 2017-2018 Budget Analysis, where we will comb through Brown’s proposed budget and find out what we’ll be up against in the coming months. Last year, despite our consistent opposition, Jerry Brown succeeded in forcing the $270 million jail construction plan through the budget process. This year, we will need to be even more vigilant to stop him from pouring more funds into the construction of new cages and systems of punishment.
As soon as the proposed budget is released, we’ll be sharing CURB’s analysis and participating in statewide discussion through the hashtag #CAbudget. CURB will also be joining California Partnership and other anti-poverty and anti-prison groups at a series of press conferences across the state on Tuesday, January 10th, to discuss Gov. Brown’s proposed 2017-18 state budget.
Please join us on Jan. 10th:
It is well past time for Jerry Brown to put an end to California’s prison and jail expansion, to reduce the incarcerated population by releasing our loved ones from captivity, and to fund programs and social services that will support the health and dignity of all Californians.
We look forward to fighting for a budget for humanity alongside you.
Californians United for a Responsible Budget
In 2016, we helped local coalitions prevent jail construction in Los Angeles, Alameda, San Francisco, and other counties. Our member network grew. On the state level, we co-sponsored legislation, the RISE Act, to repeal the three-year enhancement for drug priors. This work must continue next year to enhance the future for all Californians.
Next year we will seek to influence the state to close its twelve oldest prisons, currently slated for repairs. Read our 2016 report, “We Are Not Disposable: The toxic impact of prisons and jails.
Greetings CURB Supporter,
I am Nicole Powell, a former intern with CURB, and a current graduate student at Harvard University. As an intern with CURB, I learned specifically about how public policy, media communications, and relationship building can be used in the fight against jail and prison construction.
This year I was happy to have contributed to CURB’s mission by supporting their campaign against the building of the proposed women’s jail in Los Angeles, their campaign against Governor Brown’s $250 million jail construction plan, and their campaign to pass SB 966 (which would repeal ineffective sentencing and decrease mass incarceration).
Thank you for all of your support in 2016!
Peace and love,
Californians United For A Responsible Budget
Our coalition has a different vision for California, a vision rooted in liberation. We envision changes that will bring people home, dismantle systems of imprisonment, and support true community health and prosperity.
In 2016 we have grown stronger than ever. This year Governor Brown proposed $270 million in jail construction funding through our state budget. We made our voices heard by demanding that our decision makers say NO MORE to jail funding. Our people power persuaded the Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees to reject the state funding for new jails. Unfortunately, the Governor signed slipped in the jail funding in the final budget, showing support for more incarceration.
It was another Tuesday, and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors was meeting to decide on the next steps to construct the $3.7 billion jail plan. As I listened to the board discuss their plans to build more jails, I stood up and started leading the room to fill it with chants of “no more jails”, “reject the EIR”, and “this jail plan is disruptive” with students from FREE LA High School chiming in with individual messages to each board member.
After more than seven years of organizing against the massive jail plan, organizers, advocates, and community members were demanding that the board walk out on the jail plan — not the community. It was a powerful day, and although it resulted in the board moving forward with the jail plan, it also sparked a new sense of power among all the new and veteran organizers that have been fighting for a strong Los Angeles that doesn’t rely on incarceration.
I’m a member of CURB’S fundraising committee. I’m also a member of the No New SF Jail Coalition, organizing for 3+ years to defeat the San Francisco Sheriff & Mayor’s jail construction plans. CURB staff and member groups have anchored this jail fight, and we are winning: jail plans have been voted down at the SF Board of Supervisors and its working group.
CURB and CURB’s member groups really get it. Building new jails and prisons will always increase incarceration. Decreasing jail capacity is the only reliable way we can prevent incarceration, to keep people free from this suffering. That’s why I love CURB: together, we are educating each other and attaching the root causes of this harmful injustice. And that’s why today, I’m asking you to help support CURB’s fundraising push. Read the rest of 10 hours left – Donate to CURB on #GivingTuesday! »