Community Organizations Demand Alternatives in Prisoner ‘Realignment’, Confront LA Board of Supervisors

For Immediate Release – September 6, 2011

Press Contact: Mary Sutton, Californians United for a Responsible Budget

Cell: 310.709.8602
What: Press Conference
When: Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 12pm NOON, prior to Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Where: Outside Board’s Hearing Room 381B, 500 West Temple Street, Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in Los Angeles

At a press conference being held at noon today, community organizations will be speaking to the press on proposed realignment plans by LA’s Community Corrections Partnership (CCP). Following the press conference, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will vote on proposed plans for dealing with parts of Governor Jerry Brown’s realignment plan to shift tens of thousands of prisoners from state prisons to county jails.  Community organizations from across Los Angeles County will warn against costly jail expansion, further overcrowding of county jails and probation and parole systems. They will advocate for L.A.‘s realignment plan to direct increased resources to alternatives to jail and to community based mental health, drug treatment, education, housing, and job placement programs and services as a way to reduce overcrowding and support the successful reentry of thousands of prisoners from both state prisons and county jail.

The recent landmark US Supreme Court ruling condemned California prison overcrowding and called for the immediate reduction of the prison population by at least 33,000 prisoners. The Los Angeles County Jail currently holds around 20,000 prisoners on any given day, with a total capacity for 22,000.  Governor Jerry Brown and the California Department of Corrections’ response to the Supreme Court’s ruling will shift at least 11,000 prisoners to the LA County Jail over two years, beginning October 1st.

“The current realignment plan is setting people returning home from prison and jail, and indeed, our entire community, up for failure.” Says Fanya Baruti of All of Us or None. Baruti continues “The Board of Supervisors and the CCP have ignored concerns and ideas presented by community based organizations, even though it would be cheaper and more effective to allocate more funds for housing, job training, healthcare, and rehabilitation instead of more police and more jails.”

Susan Burton, Executive Director of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, a Los Angeles based program serving people coming out of prison and jail, says “There are thousands of other community beds available across Los Angeles County. The CCP’s realignment plan is a man-made disaster that is a result of bad public policy, a failed war on drugs and a lock’em up mentality. The Board of Supervisors need to use the resources available to them and look to the communities themselves for the answers.”

“We can turn things around by seeking new solutions and looking at what really creates safe communities, families, jobs, education training and housing.” Suggests Kevin Michael Key of Critical Resistance.  Key continues “Locking men and women up in cages shatters communities and increases violence. It does not make us safer.”

A New Way of Life
, All of Us or None and Critical Resistance are all member organizations of Californians United for a Responsible Budget. CURB is a statewide alliance of over 40 organizations working to reduce the number of prisons and prisoners in California, and to reinvest in social services.

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