CURB Responds to Governor’s Aggressive Prison Construction Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 25, 2015

Press Contact: Diana Zuñiga, Californians United for a Responsible Budget

Diana@curbprisonspending.org or 213-864-8931

Twitter: @curbprisons

SACRAMENTO, CA – Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) released the following statement from Statewide Coordinator Diana Zuñiga on the budget deal released by Governor Jerry Brown yesterday. The Corrections Budget continues to account for a total of $12.656 billion with plans to move forward with “aggressive” prison construction of 3,682 new beds at Donovan and Mule Creek with no clear plans to close the dilapidated Norco prison until next year’s budget.

“For years we have continued to see the Governor prioritize prison expansion instead of the smart sentencing reform that voters have supported time and time again. We are deeply disappointed that decision makers feel the only way to get out of the court order on prison overcrowding is to waste millions of taxpayers dollars to build more prison beds. The Governor is making it clear that he’s only interested in locking people away  instead of following the voter mandate to reduce the the prison population and bring  people home instead of languishing in California and out of state prisons.”

“This budget shows that our elected officials are only interested in shifting people from out of state prisons into newly constructed “social service” prisons that will provide outpatient or educational programs in a prison. It is clear by now that the best treatment and education can not happen in a prison. Building more and more prisons under this same misconception will only lead to failure. We have seen it before, if we build them we will fill them. We should instead push for significant restorations to anti-poverty, education and social safety net programs that have suffered years of cuts in our communities.”

“All I see in the state budget is lots of expensive construction and leaving an aging prison open with no real commitment to a realistic plan that gets us out of the court order and people long overdue for release home. As we bring people home from out of state we need to use the savings towards a focus on parole and sentencing reform that is decreasing the population. This final budget is a disgrace in that it leaves programs like elder parole, credit expansion, and the alternative custody program out of the equation when we know that is the only way we will get out of the court order by February 2016. How can you create a long term plan a month before the court’s deadline?”

CURB is a statewide alliance of over 70 organizations working to curb prison spending by reducing the number of people in prison and the number of prisons in California.

The Negative: More Foot Dragging and Prison Expansion

  • Administration will wait until the 2016-17 budget to develop a long term plan to get out of the court order, taking into account:

    • Population Trends

    • Use of Contract Beds (in-state and out of state)

    • Permanent solution to Norco State Prison

    • Need for Population Reduction Strategies such as current court orders

  • 3,682 new prison beds at existing prisons at Donovan in San Diego and Mule Creek in Ione – $35.5 million from the General Fund and $90,000 from the Inmate Welfare Fund

The Positive: Revised Contract Bed Plan, Prison Population Reduction

  • Revised Contract Bed Plan

    • Reduction of $73.3 million in CDCR budget due to a reduction of 4,000 out‐of‐state contract beds by June 2016

    • Reduction of $20 million from a reduction in contract bed capacity

  • Population is reducing faster than anticipated due to Good Time Credit increase for second strikers, expansion of medical parole, implementation of elder parole, new non-violent second strike parole measure and Prop. 47 (average daily reduction of 7,500 people in 2015-16)

Review the Summary and Detailed Budget Here: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov

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