CURB responds to $500 million for new jail construction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 3, 2015

Press Contact:
Lizzie Buchen, Californians United for a Responsible Budget

SACRAMENTO — Yesterday, a California state agency recommended distributing a half billion dollars to fund jail construction in 15 counties. The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) will have one final vote to officially approve financing the jail projects in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Ventura, Amador, Colusa, Yuba, Trinity, Humboldt, Butte, Sonoma, Yolo, Merced, Placer, and Napa counties.

CURB Co-Coordinator Lizzie Buchen released the following statement in response to the funding recommendations:

“While the rest of the nation is talking about reducing incarceration and its enormous social and economic costs, California is yet again pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into building new jails, reinforcing the state’s reliance on imprisonment for decades to come.

“Ironically, this jail construction comes at a time when counties have a significant opportunity to sustainably decrease incarceration, due to recent sentencing reforms and the availability of successful alternatives to incarceration, like pretrial release and community-based treatment programs. If these counties accept these awards and invest in jail construction, they will accelerate down the opposite path.

“One of the most alarming features of these jail expansion projects is they are being promoted as ways to improve conditions for incarcerated people. But no matter how they are advertised, jails harm people, tear apart families, and weaken communities. Moreover, these expensive jail projects directly compete with funding for life-affirming programs like education, housing, and health care, which counties continue to cut.

“Community members should advocate for their Boards of Supervisors to reject this financing. Instead of funneling money into jail expansion, counties should focus their political and budgetary efforts on addressing the needs of their communities with services and support — not imprisonment and punishment.”

CURB is organizing a mobilization to the BSCC’s November 12 meeting, where the agency will vote on whether to approve the jail construction awards. The full list of the award recommendations and proposal ratings by the BSCC subcommittee are below:

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For more information, read CURB’s Decarceration Report Card, listen to the teleconference, and contact

CURB is a statewide coalition of over 70 organizations working to curb prison spending by reducing the number of people incarcerated in California and the number of prisons and jails in the state.

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