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Raid the Budget for prison expansion? No Way!
by Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Friday Aug 16th, 2013 11:27 AM
Rumors are swirling that Governor Brown is going to try to raid the state's fragile budget surplus to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in prison expansion.
This is the worst possible scenario not just for prison reform in California - but for our schools, our roads, our hospitals, and our social services. We absolutely cannot let this happen.

The only way to beat this is to get way out in front of it - if we do our job right, the proposal will never even see the light of day. So please tell your Assemblymember and State Senator now to pledge to vote against any new money for prison expansion, period.

Don't Let the Governor Steal Money for Prisons

To the Honorable Governor Brown and Elected Officials,

We are writing in response to the Ninth District Federal Judges ruling from April 11th, that was recently upheld by the United States Supreme Court on August 2nd, in hopes that you will take into consideration the overwhelming support by California voters for you to release people from our over crowded prisons. We hope that instead of dipping into the state budget reserve to finance additional prison beds that you will look at more cost effective methods of releasing people from our overcrowded prisons. Our budget reserve should be used for restorations to much needed social safety net programs, not more prison cells. We can not afford hundred of millions of dollars going into the bloated corrections budget.

We believe the only sustainable solution to reducing overcrowding is to reduce the number of people who are imprisoned in California. We want the implementation of compassionate release, medical parole, geriatric parole, lifer parole, youth sentence reduction, expansion of good-time credits, reclassification of low-level felonies, and expansion of the Alternative Custody Program; all of which are among many cost-efficient, responsible options for population reduction. We hope that the Administration’s plan does not include the use of additional transfers to out-of-state or in-state contract facilities such as the community correctional facilities Taft and Shafter that CDCR recently toured in Kern County.

Additionally, we hope that all current prison expansion projects are canceled including the $810 million in in-fill bed construction, which CDCR is looking to site at Donovan, Mule Creek, Folsom or Vacaville prisons. We hope that the reduction plan does not include “realigning” additional people to serve time in already overcrowded county jails or leasing jail bed space from any California County specifically Alameda or Los Angeles. According to a recent Los Angeles Times Article "California prisons could free 1,000 to ease crowding": Many jails are full. In Los Angeles County, for example, "the sheriff has simply said we can't handle any more," said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for Sheriff Lee Baca.

We do applaud you for reducing the amount of prisoners in prison since the implementation of realignment, however, in order to stay out of the fiscal crisis California has suffered through for so long we need to invest in viable prison population reduction strategies. The cost per inmate - adjusted for inflation - has continued to climb and is substantially higher than in the mid-1990s. In California spending has increased to about $60,000 for each prisoner in 2013-14 which is 82.3 percent higher than in 1994-95 ($33,000 after inflation). At the same time, California's spending per K-12 student has risen by just 17.9 percent during the same period ($6,971 in 1994-95 to a projected $8,219 in 2013-14 after inflation). Spending per prisoner in California has increased nearly five times faster than spending per K-12 student over the past two decades. We need to focus on the priorities that are going to make California the state that it once was instead of continuing to waste money on locking people up and not taking the chance that we now have to reduce the population.

There is overwhelming support for your administration to release people from our overcrowded prisons immediately. I ask you to pledge, that we no put one more dollar into the bloated corrections budget.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Joe
Friday Aug 16th, 2013 6:07 PM
Why would anyone in their right mind want to build any new prisons when we're clearly better off sending inmates (and our tax dollars) to Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Move the felons as far away from their families and friends as possible. Nothing guarantees a return trip to prison quicker than severing all ties to the community.
by M.Witt
Friday Aug 16th, 2013 9:35 PM
Brown cuts in house support; and rather spend the money on prisons. God I cannot wait til hi time in office is over !!!
by Register Peace & Freedom or Green
Saturday Aug 17th, 2013 4:57 AM
The Peace & Freedom Party candidate for governor next year, 2014, is Cindy Sheehan, the peace mother. Peace & Freedom Party and the Green Party oppose prisons and support education. We cannot have guns and butter. The Democrat-Republicans have opted for fascism and are thus imprisoning, torturing and murdering the workingclass instead of promoting education and job training for decent-paying jobs. A serious program of abolishing prisons and providing rehabilitation is as follows:
1. Change all sentences to be no more than 5 years.
2. Legalize all drugs so as to remove them from the street as they will have no street market value, thus ending the prison pipeline. At least half of all prisoners are in prison for drug-related crimes.
3. Require everyone under age 50 to attend school to obtain at least a high school diploma, and if they have aptitude, a college degree, as well as do job training for decent paying jobs while in prison. Most prisoners are functionally illiterate because we have no school system as it was systemically and deliberately destroyed by the Republicans and Democrats with privatization charter schools, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
4. Provide all medical care, physical and mental, to address all of the problems the prisoner has.
5. Abolish the death penalty.
6. Abolish solitary confinement.
7. Abolish all laws that allow children under age 18 to be tried as adults.
8. All prisoners over age 50 should be freed, given $3,000 a month, rising with the cost of living, plus free housing and free medical care. If they cannot live on their own, they should be placed in free group homes.
9. Close all prisons in remote areas and move all prisoners to their county of origin where they can be near family and friends so as to be integrated into the community as quickly as possible. If the local prisons are full, they can be placed in half-way houses or group homes as we have lots of empty housing in this state, which can be taken over by eminent domain. Most prisoners are non-violent drug offenders.

If you want to see the end of prisons and the promotion of education, you have to vote Peace & Freedom or Green. They need you now to stay on the ballot. You can register online at:

For more information, see: