Support CURB's Prison Closure Campaign
A growing coalition of racial and economic justice organizations is working to close 10 prisons in California by 2025.
Prison closure is becoming more and more imperative for our state. California’s prisons continue to have a devastating impact on communities of color, rural communities, and working class communities. As the state takes on climate change and economic revitalization, there is a real opportunity to shut down toxic prisons and invest in dignified workforce development. The #CloseCAPrisons campaign is built on decades of work to shrink the imprisoned population size, stop jail and prison expansion, and roll back “tough on crime” sentencing. There is increased political will on a state level, with the reality of lowered numbers of imprisoned people and a growing racial justice movement demanding less reliance on policing and imprisonment.
Now is the moment to launch, and win, this multi-year campaign. We know that prisons impact every sector and every movement and it’s going to take a broad base to win this fight. As we close prisons, organizations like ours must be the ones to decide future priorities for investment of these billions of dollars and how to care for our communities.
- People all across California are working to close 10 state prisons by 2025. This campaign is being led by Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), a coalition of more than 80 organizations working to reduce the number of people in prisons, reduce the number of existing prisons, and redirect funding to build the infrastructure of vulnerable communities. Let’s work together to fund communities, not cages!
Join the campaign’s coalition
- This means:
- Signing on to coalitional agreements
- Send a representative to campaign-wide strategy meetings 11am Mondays
- Join a workgroup (inreach to people in prison, outreach, media, legislative)
- All of the below for partnering in the campaign.
Partner with us in this ongoing campaign.
- This means:
- You will endorse the letter below and it’s demands
- Your logo will be added to any future external campaign materials, with a 72 hour period to opt out (e.g. letters to the governor)
- A contact point person will be added to the campaign supporter email list to receive updates and calls to action
- Commit to providing a short monthly update to your organization’s membership (email, tweet, reportback during a meeting, etc.)
- With help from CURB, your organization will create a one-pager of how your org relates to this issue / why your org is signing on
- You will boost campaign calls to action and mobilize your network to participate
- Brief presentation to your organization
Endorse this letter and its demands
- This means:
- You agree to publicly support the campaign’s demands as stated hereYou will be invited to participate in future actions
If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our organization, ______________________, endorses the Prison Closure Coalition’s campaign to close 10 prisons by 2025 and invest in communities. We support the call for the California Governor and legislature to start to disassemble the state’s untenable prison system and, with these funds, craft a robust community centered budget to address some of California’s most pressing financial needs.
Starting in the 1970s, the pace and scale of imprisonment in California grew rapidly, as racist, “tough on crime” laws imprisoned huge numbers of primarily Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income people, sentencing them for longer and longer periods of time. California constructed 22 prisons between 1984 and 2013, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and requiring massive ongoing funding allocations for their continued maintenance and operation. Now, with numbers of people in prison at the lowest in decades, it’s time to close these prisons. As reported by the state’s own Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), closing five prisons will save the state at least $1.5 billion dollars annually, resources urgently needed for direct community investment for our most vulnerable populations.
Beyond the financial impact, generations of California communities have been directly and indirectly devastated by the violence of imprisonment. We must be bold and repair this wrong. Closing ten prisons will advance goals of racial justice for Californians, greater fiscal stability, addressing climate change, investment in education, and promoting worker rights.
As an organization rooted in social, racial, economic, and/or environmental justice, we support undoing this oppressive legacy of imprisonment and reinvesting funds into vital community needs. California must work to:
- Close 10 CA prisons by 2025, and accelerate existing state closure plans
- Ensure that closed prisons are fully closed (rather than maintained in “warm shutdown mode”), that prisons remain closed, and closed prisons are not repurposed for any other carceral uses.
- Reduce the state prison population through increased releases, expanded commutations, and changing draconian sentencing laws
- Redirect prison budgets to positive community investments, centering the needs of those communities most harmed by imprisonment
Prisons prioritized for closure must be emptied and all functions of the prison must be shut down. Due to the toxic land on which prisons have been built, the pollution caused by prisons, and the danger to public health that is exacerbated during a global pandemic, the prisons buildings should be torn down. The state must then implement a sustainable vision to clean and repair the land and support the communities that have suffered the most from the environmental injustices caused by prisons.
In closing prisons, the state must also invest in the creation of dignified living wage jobs. Plans must include vast investments in new economies that center the input of people living in these prison towns and support the wellness of incarcerated people returning home to their families and their communities.
We call on the State of California to take the lead from impacted communities to successfully close prisons in California, thereby creating new jobs and redirecting billions of dollars to save countless lives.