As we wrap up our Thanksgiving dinner, strings of lights and stars are already filling shopping centers and displays of red ribbon and gold tinsel adorn storefronts. With the holiday season approaching, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you about the year to come.
In the state of California, nearly 150,000 people will spend this holiday season in prison or jail. As many of us buy gifts for family and friends, there are people in our communities that are struggling to pull together money for the long bus ride to visit their loved ones in prison. As we search for the perfect present, there are children who want nothing more than to have their mommy and daddy return home. As we consider the loneliness and pain felt by people who spend this and countless seasons locked up, no less lonely and hurt are the many in California with someone they love in prison or jail. This holiday marks my son’s 19th year of incarceration, and his 13th year spent in solitary confinement.
With each day comes a new opportunity for Californians to repair, restore, and rebuild together! For every new year we dream big! Moving forward in the coming year, let’s make a resolution that no more families and communities be torn apart by the construction of new prisons and jails. It’s time for California to chart a new course by investing in real alternatives to incarceration, treatment and supportive community programs. These programs mean less communities separated by prison walls, and more families sharing the holidays together.