Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is a Black-led statewide coalition of more than 80 grassroots organizations. Our three point mission is to reduce the number of incarcerated people in California; reduce the number of prison and jails in our state; and shift wasteful spending away from incarceration and toward health community investments.

Founded in 2003, our coalition amplifies the work of community leaders on issues like sentencing reform, justice reinvestment and prison closure. Our invest/divest framework bridges movements for environmental, social, racial, and economic justice in California and across the nation.

CURB’s network of community organizers is a thriving, growing movement consisting of thousands of passionate people inside and outside of prisons and jails who believe in our mission.


CURB in Action

CURB’s advocacy, public education and media strategies have contributed to freedom campaigns across California. Since 2003, our coalition has helped stop billions of dollars in carceral spending, moved hundreds of millions dollars to communities and stopped over 140,000 new prison and jail beds from ever being built.

Meet the Team

CURB has a passionate staff supported by a volunteer Coordinating Committee and an Advisory Board. Our team and coalition members are led by members with lived experience, including currently and formerly incarcerated people. 

Amber-Rose Howard
Executive Director

Ms. Amber-Rose Howard is a poet, public speaker and organizer from Pomona, California. Experiencing a felony conviction as a young adult propelled Amber-Rose into a lifetime commitment of organizing against the Prison Industrial Complex and building up the power of Black people and all others impacted by state violence and racial capitalism. Amber-Rose holds a BA in Communication Studies concentrated in Public Argumentation & Rhetoric from California State University, San Bernardino. She is a graduate of the Women’s Foundation of California, Women’s Policy Institute Fellowship, the Just Leadership USA, Leading with Conviction Fellowship and a proud member of All of Us Or None. Amber-Rose currently serves as Executive Director of CURB and is available for further discussion, strategy and advocacy around the California State Budget. Write amberrose@curbprisonspending.org

Brian Kaneda
Deputy Director

Brian is a founding chapter member of California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) Los Angeles. He has spent the past decade monitoring, challenging and exposing the abusive conditions inside women’s prisons and advocating for the rights of incarcerated people. A tireless fundraiser for prison abolition with an extensive background in both business and media, Brian became CURB staff in January of 2019 and was selected to join the 2019-2021 SVP Systems Change Accelerator cohort of emerging Los Angeles leaders. In 2020, he joined the steering committee of Re-imagine LA County. Brian became CURB’s Deputy Director in 2021 and was elected community co-chair of LA County’s Measure J subcommittee on Mental Health, Behavioral Health & Diversion. Brian represents CURB on the Executive Team of JusticeLA. For media inquiries, information about how to help sustain CURB’s mission, or about CURB’s work in LA County, write to brian@curbprisonspending.org


Dax Proctor

Systems Coordinator 

Dax is an organizer, writer, teacher, and researcher with degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia University. He began to leverage his privilege to advocate for abolition after experiencing the harm of the prison industrial complex in his immediate family. Dax has volunteered in the CURB community since 2016, and was hired as CURB’s Systems Coordinator in 2020. He coordinates CURB’s social media platforms and co-coordinates community efforts to reform California’s Penal Code. For general information about CURB or our active campaigns, write daxp@curbprisonspending.org.


Olivia Gleason

Communications & Administrative Assistant 

Olivia is an organizer from Long Beach, CA. She works in communications for CURB, both for outward facing media and to build relationships with inside advocates. During her time at Scripps College, Olivia got involved with prison abolition organizing through the 5C Prison Abolition Collective where she got the opportunity to learn more about what on-campus abolitionist organizing can look like and volunteer with CURB partners, Critical Resistance. Olivia also works locally in Long Beach with the group CAT-911.  Write olivia@curbprisonspending.org



Soffiyah Elijah

National Advisory Board Member

(New York) is the Executive Director of the Correctional Association of New York.  She has also worked at the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, where she was a clinical instructor.

Ruthie Wilson Gilmore

National Advisory Board Member

(New York) is Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and Visiting Professor at Escola Maumaus in Lisbon. Her prize-winning books is Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (2007).

Dolores Canales

National Advisory Board Member

 (Orange County, CA) Co-founded California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement. Dolores has a son in the Pelican Bay segregated housing unit and has organized with family members in support of the Hunger Strike.


Jane Dorotik

National Advisory Board Member

Organizer who served 28 years of a life sentence at the California Institution for Women before being released during the 2020 pandemic.  Jane is a Board Member of Justice Now and active with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Jane has written extensively about the conditions of women prisoners in California.

Sara Norman

National Advisory Board Member

(Berkeley, CA) is the managing attorney of the Prison Law Office, a nonprofit that advocates for the rights of youth and adults behind bars in California.  She has been with the office for fifteen years and specializes in representing prisoners with disabilities and incarcerated juveniles.

Nicole Porter

National Advisory Board Member

(Washington DC) is the State Advocacy Coordinator for the Sentencing Project.  She coordinates state level communication and legislative campaigns on criminal justice policy and state and local advocacy efforts on voting rights, reentry and racial disparity.


Kenneth Hartman

National Advisory Board Member

Formerly incarcerated writer and activist.  He served more than 30 continuous years of a life without the possibility of parole sentence at California State Prison Lancaster, before being released in 2020 due to the pandemic. He has been published widely and recently released his memoir Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars, (Atlas & Co. 2009).


Americans for Democratic Action  • California Latinas for Reproductive Justice • Critical Resistance  • Dignity and Power NOW • Drug Policy Alliance • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights • enlace • Fair Chance Project  • Free Battered Wome  • Immigrant Legal Resource Center  • Immigrant Youth Coalition • Initiate Justice   • Justice Now • Justice Policy Institute • JusticeLA  •  Labor Community Strategy Center • Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) • LSA • LSPC • National Lawyers Guild • NOW California • Prevention at the Intersections • Prison Activist Resource Center • Prison Policy Initiative • Prisoner Reentry Network • Progressive Christians Uniting • Proyecto Common Touch • Repeal California’s Three Strikes Law Coalition • RYSE Center • SSDP • TGI Justice • The Graduate Assembly • TransLatin Coalition • University of California Student Association • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom • Young Women’s Freedom Center • Youth Justice LA Coalition • Youth Law Center • California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) • All of Us or None (AOUON) • Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC)