36 Counties Beg For Jail Construction Money

Communities Across the State Caravan to Sacramento in Protest
Media Alert – December 2, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Harris, Californians United for a Responsible Budget: emily@curbprisonspending.org – 510.435.1176
When: December 4, 2013  –  12 noon
Where: Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC): University of Phoenix, 2860 Gateway Oaks Drive, 1st Floor, Sacramento
Who:  Californians United for a Responsible Budget (an alliance of over 50 organizations across the state)
What: Statewide Mobilization to Fight Jail Expansion
Sacramento- On December 4th, community members representing counties from across California are coming together to stop the state funding stream for new jails (SB1022). Sheriffs and other stakeholders throughout the state are vying for millions of dollars to expand county jail systems in response to growing jail populations due to realignment (AB 109).

Forty-two out of fifty eight counties have plans to build new jails and thirty-six are presenting their applications to the Board of State and Community Corrections requesting funds from a pot of $500 million that will be generated by selling bonds. Counties must match funds awarded by the state by providing at least 10% but, in most cases construction budgets will consume much more. The county taxpayer will pay all these costs and ongoing operational expenses for new facilities.

“Californians will be taking on huge debts to build more jail cells for people who are now children,” states Mary Sutton, Critical Resistance, Los Angeles, “When study after study shows that locking people up does not create safer communities, and multiple reports recommend proven methods to reduce rates of imprisonment, why wouldn’t we use available resources to provide life-affirming programs, job programs and services that will keep people out of jail, support families and children while creating safer viable communities?”

As controversial new jail construction plans move forward, California county budgets are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Sacramento through realignment.  Trend have shown that despite County Board of Supervisors having the discretion to put these dollars into programming that reduces incarceration rates or the majority are expand their sheriff’s department and planning to build new jails. (See CURB’s recent Realignment Report Card)

Reports from ACLU, CURB, the LAO, and the Vera Institute and other experts give numerous recommendations on ways to reduce incarceration by investing in less expensive and more effective public safety measures. A report from the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) states: “Realignment was intended to give local communities the opportunity to implement innovative, locally relevant rehabilitation programs, not the same old failed strict incarceration regimes of the past.”

 “We don’t need more jails. Recent polls show that people don’t want more prisons and jails in California. And the last thirty years shows that cell-building is a failed policy,” said Deb Reyes of California Prison Moratorium Project. “Whole communities have been devastated and disenfanchised as the social safety net and schools were defunded and billions wasted on prisons and jails.”
On December 4th CURB members from over 15 counties will hold a rally, participate in public comment, and demand that California fund community-based alternatives, not jails.


About the Author

Recent Articles