Media Alert – December 3, 2013
36 Counties Beg for Jail Construction Money
University of Phoenix, 2860 Gateway Oaks Drive, 1st Floor, Sacramento
Who: Californians United for a Responsible Budget and LA Organizations Critical Resistance, Youth Justice Coalition, LA Community Action Network, Dignity and Power Now & LA No More Jails
What: Statewide Mobilization to Fight Jail Expansion
Sheriffs and other stakeholders throughout the state are vying for millions of dollars (SB1022) to expand county jail systems in response to growing jail populations due to realignment (AB 109).
Forty-two out of fifty eight counties have plans to build new jails and thirty-six are presenting their applications to the Board of State and Community Corrections requesting funds from a pot of $500 million that will be generated by selling bonds. Counties must match funds awarded by the state by providing at least 10% but, in most cases construction budgets will consume much more. The county taxpayer will pay all these costs and ongoing operational expenses for new facilities.
“Californians will be taking on huge debts to build more jail cells for people who are now children,” states Joe Maizlish of LA No More Jails, “When study after study shows that locking people up does not create safer communities, and multiple reports recommend proven methods to reduce rates of imprisonment, why wouldn’t we use available resources to provide life-affirming programs, job programs and services that will keep people out of jail, support families and children while creating safer viable communities?”
Reports from ACLU, CURB, the LAO, and the Vera Institute and other experts give numerous recommendations on ways to reduce incarceration by investing in less expensive and more effective public safety measures. A report from the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) states: “Realignment was intended to give local communities the opportunity to implement innovative, locally relevant rehabilitation programs, not the same old failed strict incarceration regimes of the past.”
”We don’t need more jails. Recent polls show that people don’t want more prisons and jails in California. And the last thirty years shows that cell-building is a failed policy,” said Julio Marquez of the Youth Justice Coalition.“Whole communities have been devastated and disenfanchised as the social safety net and schools were defunded and billions wasted on prisons and jails.”