Opposition to Controversial San Diego Prison Expansion

For Immediate Release – August 8, 2013
Contact: Diana Zuñiga, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, (213) 864-8931
Environmental Impact Report hearing, Thursday August 8, 2013
6:00pm at the City of Chula Vista City Council Chambers, 276 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910.
San Diego – Plans to build thousands of new prison cells in San Diego have generated responses ranging from confusion to outrage in San Diego County and across the state. Citizens are asking for extension in the amount of 50 days after the DEIR is translated into Spanish, an analysis of the current financial contribution that is given to the Otay Water District per prisoner, the projected financial contribution per prisoner for this project, and a comparison of those numbers to what citizens are currently contributing, especially given that the water prices seem to be increasing for those using water from the Otay Water District.
“California doesn’t need more prison cells, and San Diego doesn’t want more prison cells,” said Susan Thornton-Zetino, resident of Chula Vista and member of A New PATH and Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS). “San Diego officials need to address the issues of substandard housing, overcrowded schools, a lack of social services, low-paid jobs, polluting industries mixed in with residential and commercial sites, industrial truck traffic, lack of parks and healthy food outlets, and severe air pollution.”
This project will increase the total number of Level II inmate beds in California by 2,376. RJD is being considered for a single facility that would include 3 dormitories with a bed capacity of 792 and a double facility that would include 6 dormitories with a bed capacity of 1,584.
“Who in San Diego wants more prisons?” asked Dennis Childs, Professor at the University of California San Diego. “Why is Gov. Brown dumping this unnecessary waste of land and money on San Diego? We are going to speak out against this unnecessary use of dollars that can be used to empower the youth of San Diego instead of incarcerating them or their families.”
The City of San Diego would benefit from the leasing of unused land owned by CDCR for commercial development, which was the argument that Assemblyman Curt Hagman has stated forcefully to push back on plans for prison expansion in Chino. “We’re trying to get them (CDCR) to lease out the surplus land so that no future facilities come to Chino Valley.”
“There is no need for more prisons,” says Emily Harris of Californians United for a Responsible Budget. “There are dozens of proven, safe policy innovations that have been shown to work in other states to reduce the prison population, increase public safety and save taxpayer dollars.”
The population imprisoned in CDCR facilities has dropped from 135,759 to 123,755 in the past year and is down from a peak of over 173,000 in 2006. CDCR has announced plans to close a prison in Norco, and advocates are pressing for the closure of other prisons across the state and further downsizing of the state’s wasteful prison system. Not to mention, the recent court order that is calling on the Governor to reduce the amount of people in California prisons by almost 10,000 people.
“We hope that people from in and around San Diego will turn out to learn about what the proposed prison expansion means for this area,” commented Emily Harris. “City and state officials need to come clean about why they’re pushing this lemon on the City of San Diego. We will be telling CDCR and San Diego representatives that we don’t want more prisons.”
There is a public meeting about the controversial prison expansion plans on August 8, 2013 at 6:00pm at the City of Chula Vista City Council Chambers, 276 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910.

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