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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For Immediate Release: California State Senate Passes Bill to Repeal Sentence Enhancement for Prior Drug Convictions

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2017

CONTACT: Daisy Vieyra, (916) 442-1036 x613, dvieyra@acluca.org

California State Senate Passes Bill to Repeal Sentence Enhancement for Prior Drug Convictions

Critics Say Long Sentences Failed to Reduce Drug Sales, Exacerbated Racial Disparities in Sentencing, Crippled State and Local Budgets

Sacramento, CA — The California Senate took a step to address what many described as an expensive failed policy that exacerbated racial disparities in sentencing by passing SB 180 by Senators Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles and Ricardo Lara of Long Beach. The bill passed along party lines, 22-13, with most Democrats supporting the reform, and most Republicans opposing.

The RISE Act, for Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancements, would repeal a three-year mandatory enhancement for prior drug convictions that are added to any new conviction.  Today, someone convicted for sale or possession for sale of a minuscule amount of drugs, can face 3-5 years plus an additional three years in jail for each prior conviction for similar drug offenses. Public defenders have testified in legislative committees that homeless, mentally ill and addicted persons are incredibly vulnerable to these unfair sentences.

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CURB remembers Rose Braz

CURB members are celebrating the life and mourning the loss of one of our movement leaders, Rose Braz. Rose was a co-founder of CURB, Critical Resistance, Justice Now and other organizations that sought to build a strong opposition to policing and incarceration throughout California and nationally. Rose was a comrade in this fight to many, but also a friend and an always present mentor that sought to carry on intersectional organizing practices and constantly sought to share her skills with others in the movement. 

Earlier this month on Tuesday, May 2nd, Rose passed away after a long battle with cancer. Although Rose is physically gone from our lives, her spirit and energy continue to be felt by so many people that are a part of the CURB community. Here are just a few words from CURB members about the impact that Rose has on us:

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CA Prison Spending Soars to All Time High in Governor’s May Budget Revise

MEDIA CONTACT: Ivette Alé, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Ivette@curbprisonspending.org or 213.864.8931

Sacramento — This morning, Governor Brown released California’s 2017-18 revised budget – a budget that increases total funding on corrections to $11.4 billion (2017-18), up from $10.6 billion last year (2016-17). Brown’s increase in corrections spending falls out of step with the will of the people of California. The budget projects a decline of the adult prison population by .7% due to voter mandated criminal justice reforms like Proposition 57, yet, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget continues to soar at an all time high this year. In a moment where California’s values are under threat by the federal government, the state cannot afford to drain its social safety net to expand prisons and jails.

Over 64% of California voters have already taken a stand against wasteful spending by passing Prop 57 last fall, however the savings are offset by the Governor’s budget. 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 $38.8 million in 2017-18, yet the total corrections budget increases by an all time high of $600 million. Despite these spending increases, CDCR insists on neutering the potential cost saving effects of Prop 57 by refusing to implement retroactivity, expanding credits to non-violent third strikers and applying credits to the earliest possible parole dates. As the budget is finalized, advocates turn to legislative budget leaders, encouraging them to  with Prop 57 regulations.  Arguing that by fully implementing the will of California voters to reduce mass incarceration millions of dollars in savings could be realized.

“In the Assembly Budget Sub 5 committee hearing on April 20, Assemblymember Weber asked Secretary Scott Kernan why CDCR won’t implement credits earning retroactively. He stated that it was because CDCR did not have the capacity to do so. The Governor’s revised budget allots an additional $1 million to implement Prop 57. We strongly recommend CDCR use this additional funding to implement retroactive good time credits” said Charles Berry, board member of Initiate Justice, a member organization of Californians United for a Responsible Budget.

In addition to full implementation of voter-mandated reforms, state legislators are still concerned about California’s deadly prison and jail overcrowding and are pursuing further common sense sentencing reforms like SB 180 (RISE Act). Authored by Senator Mitchell, the RISE Act would repeal an enhancement for prior drug convictions. Experts believe these enhancements have contributed to jail and prison overcrowding, and do little or nothing to deter drug sales.

“The policy of sentencing people with nonviolent drug offenses to long periods of incarceration has proven an expensive failure,” said Eunisses Hernandez, Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Like Prop 47 and 57 before it, savings from reduced jail crowding would free up funds that could be invested in programs and services that improve public safety, including community-based mental health and substance use treatment, job programs, and affordable housing.”

Donald Trump’s repeal of federal reforms, like Obamacare, are well underway, and his threats to withhold federal funds from states that refuse to comply with his aggressive immigration policies continue. Governor Brown’s budget and press conference shared no plan if a major federal financial hit impacted California like the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“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. Now is the time for the Governor to take a stand against the racist and oppressive policies that will come down federally.”

The people of California, progressive legislators and the CURB coalition believe that the appropriate response to looming budget threats is not more wasteful spending on incarceration, but commonsense reforms coupled with a reduction in corrections spending. California should continue to pursue aggressive parole and sentencing reform efforts and 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.

  • Los Angeles, Thursday May 11th at 12pm – Ronald Reagan State Building (300 S. Spring St.)
  • Sacramento, Thursday May 11th at 11am – State Capitol Bldg 1st Floor Room 1190
  • San Francisco, Friday May 12th at 1pm – California State Building (355 McAllister St.)
  • Riverside, Monday May 15th at 10 am – CA Towers (3737 Main St.)
  • Coachella, Monday May 15th at 10 am – Veterans Park (1515 Sixth St.)
  • Bakersfield, Monday May 15th at 11 am – Kern County Liberty Bell (1415 Truxtun Ave.)

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Join LANMJ this Mother’s Day!

As CURB and the LA No More Jails coalition continue to fight against the proposed construction of a new $200 million women’s jail in Los Angeles County, we’re also uplifting our women and their families at our annual LANMJ Mother’s Day Commemoration at Lynwood Jail.

At last year’s event, families were given the opportunity to share their stories and voice their concerns with the jail expansion plan. You can watch families advocate for their loved ones and communities here. 

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Join us tomorrow: Tell the governor to invest in people, not prisons

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

But in this year’s budget summary, he made it clear that he wants to move the state in the opposite direction.

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
  • reopens closed SHU units at Pelican Bay and Corcoran for housing

We need to show Gov. Brown that we won’t accept his continued prioritization on imprisonment!

Join CURB, California Partnership, and other anti-prison and anti-poverty groups at four rallies and press conferences across the state starting tomorrow, May 11 in Sacramento and Los Angeles and ending on Monday, May 15 in Bakersfield, Riverside and Coachella.

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#CABudget Battle: Stop CDCR Construction Plans!

CURB and member organizations are continuing to put pressure on the budget committees to fully implement Prop. 57 with our full recommendations in mind. They are listening and they are feeling the pressure. 

Tomorrow, April 26th, the Senate Budget Committee will be discussing CDCR’s Capital Outlay Plan which includes the conversion of Pelican Bay into Level II housing and other facility changes.

Can you let the Senate know that we need to close prisons, not convert them?

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#CABudget Battle: Prop.57 Assembly Hearing TODAY!

Last week about 30 Initiate Justice and CURB members came out to the Prop 57 Hearing in the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety. CDCR showed up to present their budget request for Prop 57 implementation, and we showed up to represent incarcerated people and their families! Members of Initiate Justice, CURB, Essie Justice Group, Outside Solutions and other community organizations offered public comment on the Prop 57 regulations. The full hearing can be viewed HERE.

Today April 24th at 2:30pm in room 437, the Assembly Budget Committee will be discussing Proposition 57 and I will be giving testimony!

 

Can you help us keep up the momentum by sending an email to the Assembly Budget Committee today?

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