California Prison Experts Blast Governor's May Budget Revise

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MAY 14, 2013

Demand Stronger Population Reduction Strategies and No Prison Expansion

CONTACT: Diana Zuñiga, 213-864-8931

Who: Californians United for a Responsible Budget. Speakers will include Debbie Reyes of the California Prison Moratorium Project, Courtney Hooks of Justice Now, Diana Zuñiga of Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Vanessa Aramayo of California Partnership and additional experts will be available for comment on specific aspect of the plan.What: Press Conference Call. 218-936-4141, code #5409430

When: Wednesday, May 15 2013 at 2pm. Prisoner Rights Activists and Experts respond to the Governor’s May Budget Revise.

Sacramento – During his press conference earlier this morning to introduce the May Budget Revise, Gov. Brown explained that there were no plans for prison population reduction in today’s budget plan. Indeed, the budget projects an increase in the prison population and tweaks realignment by providing funds for CDCR to “house long-term offenders” currently under county supervision.

Earlier this month, under a Federal Court Order Governor Brown submitted a plan to bring the state prison system into compliance with the three-judge-panel order by reducing the number of people in state prison by 9,300 to 137.5% of design capacity.

Despite the Governor’s reluctance to spend all of the current windfall of revenues, General Fund spending is slated to increase by 0.7% next year and Corrections spending by more than twice that amount, at 1.9%. Corrections spending is budgeted to be 9.2% of General Fund spending. Gov. Brown follows the lead of Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger in sparing Corrections budgets from the sorts of cuts that have decimated human services and higher education.

“The Governor’s unwillingness to back even watered down reforms to parole and good time credits shows he continues to be more committed to the law enforcement lobby than the health and wellbeing of Californians,” said Courtney Hooks of Justice Now “The Legislature has a chance to break from Brown’s racist fear mongering and write a budget that follows the clear will of Californians to shorten harsh sentences.”

Further expansion to good time credit alone could result in an additional population reduction of 5,632 according to the plan the Administration submitted to the Court.

“Brown’s budget repeats the bad news of his so-called plan for prison overcrowding. In his plan, he told the Federal Court that he supports no programs to reduce the prison population and wants to reduce crowding by building more prisons and leasing more cells. Today we see that plan in dollars and cents,” says Debbie Reyes of the Prison Moratorium Project. The Governor’s budget calls for increasing capacity of state prison fire camps.

“The Californians who have suffered the most from cuts to the safety net, to public housing, to job programs, and to increases in the cost of higher education are the same Californians whose family members have been swept into prisons and jails,” says Emily Harris, statewide coordinator of Californians United for a Responsible Budget. “Let’s be clear that the state has been spending money on poor Californians and communities of color. That money has been spent on more police, jails, more prisons — programs that destroy lives, destroy families and destroy neighborhoods.”

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