For Immediate Release – January 29th
Opposition to Controversial Chino Prison Expansion Grows
Contact: Emily Harris
Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Plans to build thousands of new prison cells in Chino have generated responses ranging from confusion to outrage in the Inland Empire and across the state.
“California doesn’t need more prison cells, and the Inland Empire doesn’t want more prison cells,” said Diana Zuñiga, Field Organizerfor Californians United for a Responsible Budget. “The Governor is trying to jam this project down our throats. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars and a waste of land that could be used to benefit our community.”
The California Department of Corrections has announced a controversial plan to build 1,800 to 2,376 new prison cells and an additional 950 “reception center” cells in Chino.
“Because the state can’t find any more cities to believe that prisons help the places they are built, they are now trying to build on existing prison properties,” said Ruth Wilson Gilmore, an expert on California’s prison expansion policies. “Cities like Chino have wised up and know that using that land for commercial development or parks is a far better alternative.”
“Who in Chino or the Inland Empire wants more prisons?” asked Leslie Mendoza, Youth Organizer at Youth Justice Coalition. “Why is Gov. Brown dumping this unnecessary waste of land and money on Chino? We are going to speak out against this unnecessary use of dollars that can be used to empower the youth of Chino instead of incarcerating them or their families.”
The City of Chino would like to lease unused land owned by CDCR for commercial development, and Assemblyman Curt Hagman has stated forcefully “We’re trying to get them (CDCR) to lease out the surplus land so that no future facilities come to Chino Valley.”
“There is no need for more prisons,” said Mary Sutton, of Critical Resistance. “There are dozens of proven, safe policy innovations that have been shown to work in other states to reduce the prison population, increase public safety and save taxpayer dollars.”
The population imprisoned in CDCR facilities has dropped from 135,759 to 123,755 in the past year and is down from a peak of over 173,000 in 2006. CDCR has announced plans to close a prison in Norco, and advocates are pressing for the closure of other prisons across the state and further downsizing of the state’s wasteful prison system.
“We hope that people from in and around Chino will turn out to learn about what the proposed prison expansion means for this area,” commented Dolores Canales of California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement. “City and state officials need to come clean about why they’re pushing this lemon on the City of Chino. We will be telling CDCR and Chino representatives that we don’t want more prisons.”
There are public meetings about the controversial prison expansion plans on Jan. 30 at 3:00 and 6:00 at the Chaffey College Community Center, 5890 College Park, Chino. Members of the CURB coalition will be in attendance and speak out against the expansion at 3:00pm.