What the new CA budget means for us

Dear Supporter,

It is now the beginning of the new fiscal year in California, as Governor Brown signed the state’s 2016-17 budget on Monday. This year, thanks to your incredible action and passionate advocacy, the idea of moving resources away from law enforcement and imprisonment gained serious traction.

But law enforcement continues to gain power as well, and unfortunately, they managed to pry even more money for policing and imprisonment in the state budget.

For the first time ever, we got a major win as we persuaded the budget subcommittees of both houses to reject the Governor’s proposal for jail construction money and redirect the funds to prevention and treatment. But he managed to strong-arm the legislature into inserting it back into the budget, in the form of lease-revenue bonds.

We successfully pressured them to reduce spending on intensive and invasive searches of people visiting their loved ones in prison, and halved the number of prison guards the Governor wanted to add to the gang-investigation squad.

Imagine how bad it would have been if you and our action network hadn’t been putting up a fight. The heat you helped create spurred more discussions on alternatives to incarceration than ever before, and heightened critique of the role of policing in our communities.

Thanks to your calls to address root causes of incarceration, there were modest repairs to the social safety net, including a repeal of the cruel and punitive maximum family grant policy for CalWORKs, and some increases to grants for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as funding to address homelessness.

But with another $270 million for jail construction, $280 million to extend contracts with private prisons, and milliions of dollars of repairs to dilapidated facilities that should be shut down, the Governor has made it clear that the state will continue prioritizing imprisonment as an intervention for poor people and people of color.

We’ve made incredible gains, but it’s not enough. We need to continue building power. Thank you for all your support in changing the conversation in Sacramento.


Lizzie Buchen and Diana Zuniga

Co-Coordinators, Californians United for a Responsible Budget

P.S. Check out CURB’s budget analysis here!

About the Author


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 »


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 »


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 »