California Counties Continue Fight against Massive Jail Construction Schemes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—January 15, 2013

​LOS ANGELES​
Press Contact: Diana Zuniga, Californians United for a Responsible Budget​ – ​213.864.8931
What: Rally/Press Conference
When: January 16, 2014, 9:00am
Where: Kenneth Hahn Auditorium, Century Station, 11703 South Alameda Street, Lynwood, CA 90262
Who:  Californians United for a Responsible Budget & LA No More Jails

SANTA CRUZ
Press Contact:​ ​Tash Nguyen, Sin Barras – 408.499.7912
What: Rally/Press Conference
When: January 16, 2014, 4:30pm​
Where:​ The Clock Tower, Santa Cruz​
Who:  Californians United for a Responsible Budget & Sin Barras
Los Angeles—On January 16, Southern California members of the statewide Californian United for Responsible Budget (CURB) alliance will continue their fight to oppose the state’s plans to pour another $500​ million into controversial jail construction projects.  During a meeting Thursday, the murky Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) will confirm which counties will be awarded funding to build new or expand existing jail facilities. In December, the Board’s Executive Steering Committee (ESC)​ recommended 15 counties to receive $500 million in taxpayer dollars to support their construction schemes.  Organizations and residents from across Southern California counties will stage a rally to pressure the Board to not dole out more jail funds to their communities. A solidarity rally will be held later in the afternoon in Santa Cruz​, one of the counties recommended by the ESC to receive funding.
“These jail construction plans are dangerous and devastating to our communities,” says Luz Flores, Youth Organizer for the Youth Justice Coalition, one the organizers of Thursday’s rally. “Study after study commissioned​ by these counties show that locking people up does not create safer communities and multiple reports recommend ways to reduce rates of imprisonment. It makes more sense to use available resources to provide life-affirming programs, job programs and services that will keep people out of jail.”
“These applications for state funds require that counties show they have implemented strategies to support people coming out of prison and jail in order to reduce recidivism and relieve crowding, but this isn’t happening,” says Mary Sutton of Critical Resistance, also an organizer of Thursday’s rally. “It appear that counties like Los Angeles County are deliberately not implementing population reduction strategies so they can justify expansion.”Activist were able to win a victory against California’s largest jail construction scheme when the ESC did not recommend​ Los Angeles county’s bid to receive $80 million in state funding to expand its massive jail system​.​

“Poor people and people of color have been disportionatelyimpacted by 30 years criminal justice policies. Whole communities have been devasted and disenfanchised as our social safety net where shredded and our schools were defunded, while billions were being invested in prison and jail construction,” says Debbie Reyes of the California Prison Moratorium Project.  “But residents in counties across the state are sick of it and they are fighting back.  Poll after poll shows Californians want a change.  Now is the time for county and state politicians to get with the programs, or get out of the way.”

Thursday BSCC meeting will confirm or deny funding recommendations for the ESC​ for Tuolumne, Napa County, King, Shasta, Lake, Tehama, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Solano, Tulare, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Fresno, Orange, & Sacramento counties.  Several counties where jail expansion has been very controversial were not recommended for funding including San Francisco, Contra Costa, Riverside and Los Angeles.​ CURB member organizations will hold a lively rally, participate in public comment and meet with decision makers.  Spokespeople will be available throughout the day.

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