FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–APRIL 25, 2012
Isaac Ontiveros, Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Ph. 510 444 0484
Two days after CDCR released its The Future of California Corrections plan, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is launching its own master plan for public safety in California: The Budget for Humanity (http://curbprisonspending.
The Budget for Humanity (B4H) calls for an immediate end to all prison and jail expansion, reductions to prison and jail populations, progressive revenue measures, and strong reinvestment in life-affirming programs like education, healthcare, housing, job training and transportation. The Budget for Humanity is also calling for the cancelation of the notorious Assembly Bill 900, which authorized $7 billion in prison construction funding without any voter approval. The B4H combines expertise from advocates, activists, academics, currently and formerly imprisoned people and their families, as well as drawing from the research of California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office and the experience of other states that have reduced their prison populations.
“Communities around California should celebrate their hard-fought victories that are reflected in some of the changes outlined in the CDCR’s plan,” says Emily Harris, statewide coordinator for CURB. “But, the CDCR’s plan is a hesitant and lacking stop-gap compared to the bold vision of the Budget for Humanity, which could successfully end harmful expansion plans, eliminate all overcrowding in California’s prisons and jails, and return tens of thousands of prisoners back to their communities.”
Unlike the CDCR’s master plan, the Budget for Humanity addresses both prisons and jails, while addressing the opportunities and shortcomings of the state’s realignment plan. “While California’s prison population is decreasing, realignment has only displaced the basic problem that California locks up way too many people. County jail populations are exploding, and many counties are trying to follow the same disastrous path the state blazed by trying to build their way out of their overcrowding problems,” says Debbie Reyes of California Prison Moratorium Project. “Since the state can’t seem to set the right example, counties will have to take the lead by stopping expansion efforts and taking simple steps to reduce their jail populations.” According to the latest Jail Profile Survey by the Corrections Standards Authority, 71% of those in California’s jail have not yet been sentenced.
The Budget for Humanity outlines 14 common sense measures that could significantly reduce the prison population. Comparatively, the CDCR’s plan outlines only two reduction measures, and proposes $810 million of new lease revenue bond spending to build more prisons. “After healthcare and education funding in this state have been cut to the bone, it is unthinkable that the CDCR proposes what will be a billion dollars in prison expansion, rather than let California become the 16th state to implement geriatric parole,” says Diana Block of California Coalition for Women Prisoners. “Stopping all prison and jail expansion and instituting even moderate population reduction measures creates real momentum for positive and sustainable change in California.”
Dozens of CURB members will be meeting with legislators from the Capitol’s Public Safety and Budget Committees this Wednesday and Thursday to respond to CDCR’s plan and to present the Budget for Humanity.
For more information, visit www.curbprisonspending.org.