CURB's Letter in the New York Times: Crowded Prisons in California

JULY 29, 2014 in the New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Strong Steps on Sentencing Reform” (editorial, July 22):

The United States Sentencing Commission’s vote to give nearly a quarter of federal prisoners the chance to reduce their sentences is a tribute to the tireless work of former prisoners, family members and other advocates to end the peril of mass incarceration.

However, in California, we have not had the “remarkable success” in reducing our prison population that the editorial suggests. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has fought the court order to reduce the prison population with a tenacity some have likened to Gov. George Wallace’s resistance to desegregation.

His main strategy to reduce crowding has been “public safety realignment,” which shifted overcrowding from state prisons to county jails, resulting in extensive jail expansion.

Let’s be careful not to give California any pat on the back: Mr. Brown has repeatedly promised that he will do everything in his power to avoid “early releases.”

ISAAC LEV SZMONKO
EMILY HARRIS
Oakland, Calif., July 23, 2014

Ms. Harris is statewide coordinator of Californians United for a Responsible Budget, and Mr. Szmonko is a member of Critical Resistance Oakland. Both groups seek to reduce the number of prisons.

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 »