CURB is an alliance of over 40 organizations from across the state. We work to reduce prison spending, to reducing the number of people in prison and jail and the number of prisons in California. The positive steps forward taken in the CDCR’s report reflect at least a decade of tireless work by California communities to take on the state’s prison crisis. CURB looks forward to working with decision makers to reprioritize jobs, housing, healthcare, education, and other institutions, programs, and services that make our communities safe and strong.
On Monday April 23, CDCR released a detailed plan on changes to the Department in the wake of the Supreme Court overcrowding ruling, realignment, the budget crises, and increased pressure from communities across the state fighting against prison and jail expansion. The report, called The Future of California Corrections can be accessed at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/2012plan/index.html.
The plan reflects some positive steps that CURB has been recommending for years, including cancelling $4.1 billion of AB900 funding, expanding programming for people inside and for people on parole, expanding the Alternative Custody Program, and remanding civil addicts to county supervision. However, these steps are very conservative given California’s ongoing budget crisis and they do not go far enough to address the needs of California communities. In fact, CDCR is keeping in step with 30 years of disastrous policy by calling for only these two minor sentencing reforms, proposing to raise the overcrowding ceiling to 145%, and proposing $810 million in lease revenue bond authority to expand prisons.
Cancel All Prison and Jail Expansion
- Cancel 100% of remaining AB 900 prison and jail expansion funds, not just the proposed $4.1 billion. $1.9 billion of AB900 money, with added debt and future operating costs, is still a disastrous waste of resources that could go to – education, job training, healthcare and beneficial construction projects.
- Prevent any additional AB 900 funds from being directed toward jail expansion.
- Reject the request for $810 million to expand prisons. The justification for this expansion is that the aging prison population will require more medical care. CDCR could eliminate their plans to build more medical facilities and make significant steps to reducing the prison population by instituting extremely modest geriatric parole and expanding compassionate release programs.
- Stop the conversion of Valley State Prison for Women to a men’s prison and close it permanently. The city of Chowchilla and the county of Madera have insisted that the prison not be converted to a men’s prison, and the CDCR itself said that 4,500 women prisoners do not need to be in prison.
- Do not repurpose Folsom Transitional Treatment Facility to hold women. According to the CDCR’s own recommendations, we can drastically reduce the number of women in prison now.
- Ensure that CDCR is help responsible for reaching the 137.5% population reduction benchmark, instead of raising the overcrowding ceiling to 145% of design capacity. In fact 137.5% of design capacity is too high and we the encourage CDCR to continue reductions well below 137.5%.
- Ensure every person in prison has access to programming and that everyone on parole gets services to help with their transition. Programming and services are proven to dramatically reduce recidivism. Demand that CDCR come up with a plan to guarantee access to programs for 100% of prisoners and parolees.
- Implement Geriatric Parole to address the rapidly aging prison population and reduce the need for high cost medical beds.
- Expand Compassionate Release to eliminate the need for more high cost medical beds.
- Expand Alternative Custody for Women eligibility to include women who have a prior conviction classified as “serious” or “violent”.
- Remove barriers to the Alternative Custody program and expand the program to include eligibility for people in men’s prisons and the elderly.
- We support the plan to stop out-of-state transfers, and urge that the timeline be moved up.
- We support downgrading prisoners’ classification levels, but call for sweeping reform of California notorious Security Housing and Administrative Segregation Units.