California’s Legislative Analyst Office Questions CDCR Blueprint

For Immediate Release–May 16, 2012

Press Contact:  Isaac Ontiveros

Californians United for a Responsible Budget

Ph. 510 444 0484

Oakland—California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) concluded that the Department of Corrections “has not justified the need for several costly prison construction projects that would add $76 million in annual debt-service costs to the General Fund” in a report on the CDCR’s “Future of California Corrections” plan. The LAO determined that the state “should consider less costly alternatives to the CDCR blueprint.” The LAO’s report comes amidst much analysis of California’s recently announced $15.7 billion budget shortfall and Gov. Brown’s plans to make $8 billion in cuts.  Advocates and activists across the state continue to point to the relationship between increases in prison and jail spending and cuts to vital educational, employment, health, and social services and programs.  While this month’s budget revise proposes slashing authorization to borrow over $4.1 billion from AB900 prison construction funds, it still allocates $800 million for new prison cells and an additional $500 million to counties to expand jail capacity, adding to the $1.2 billion already awarded to counties earlier this year.

Along with noting unusually high costs for prison construction projects already marked as questionable, the LAO also notes the CDCR’s “blueprint depends on the uncertain court approval of its request to raise the population cap to 145 percent of design capacity.”  The heightening of the overcrowding ceiling is nearly 10% higher than what was mandated by the US Supreme Court in last year’s landmark condemnation of the California prison system.

The LAO recommends that the Legislature closes California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, rejects construction plans at DeWitt juvenile facility along with infill projects at three other locations, and significantly reduces the state’s reliance on out-of-state contract beds. The LAO points out that CDCR’s plan for “infill beds” to house Enhanced Outpatients (EOP) ignores the fact that “According to the department’s most recent projections, there will be a surplus of over 100 EOP beds in 2016-17 without the construction.”

“While we appreciate the LAO’s calls to caution around the CDCR’s plan—especially when it comes to construction—we join communities all over the state who are demanding more thorough changes to the California prison system that would not only save the state billions of dollars, but also reunite thousands of people needlessly trapped in jails and prisons with their loved ones,” says Emily Harris of Californians United for a Responsible Budget.  “We want to push California’s decision makers to take up measures and reforms that would cancel construction funding, implement release programs for sick and elderly prisoners, and change draconian sentencing laws that got us into this mess.  These changes are not only doable and sustainable, but are in line with the desires of the majority of residents in this state.”

Today’s LAO report comes during demonstrations across the state against the grave impacts of budget cuts and as Gov. Brown reversed his promise to close the notorious Division of Juvenile Justice.

###

About the Author

Subscribe

Recent Articles

CURB Overview of the 2021-22 Proposed Corrections Budget

Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is a statewide coalition of organizations working to reduce the number of people imprisoned in California and the number of prisons and jails in the state. We advocate for an investment in justice that centers care, not punishment. Governor Newsom’s May Revision of the 2021-22 budget for Corrections includes $13.3

Read More »

LA TIMES JOINT PUBLIC STATEMENT: PRISONS ARE RACIST

6/22/21 Editors and Writers of The Los Angeles Times, We’re writing in hopes of evolving The Los Angeles Times’ coverage on prison closure. An article released two days after Juneteenth sought to center the narrative that closing prisons equals economic devastation. This dialogue reminds us of the arguments of the Antebellum South. Like prisons, slavery

Read More »

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION IS A “MONEY PIT”

Despite prison closures and historically low prison populations, California is failing to end its addiction to prison spending, advocates say  SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA––In response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Revise Budget for 2021-22 released today, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) provided the following statement: CURB applauds the major investments in health and human services the Newsom

Read More »