Years ago, when I was a volunteer in San Quentin, I was told that it was one of the “good” prisons. It’s close to urban areas, flooded with volunteers, and frequently visited by celebrities.
But then I met a prisoner named Ivan. Ivan was in and out of prison in the 80s and 90s, and is now serving more than 50 years-to-life. He laid out the truth for me: At the end of the day, after the volunteers and celebrities drive home, the prisoners all go back to their cells, locked away in a place that was designed for punishment.
“The work CURB is doing gives hope to the little guys, like me, who have been thrown away like garbage,” he wrote to me recently. “There are a lot of people talking about incarceration these days, but the fight CURB is engaged in, that’s the right fight. To shrink the prison system, you need to shrink the number of cages. You need to cut sentences across the board. CURB’s thinking big, and that’s exactly what this movement needs.”
California’s massive prison and jail system has propelled our state down a devastating path of poverty, racism, and state violence. But at the same time, our growing movement opens another path — toward realizing the community, power, and liberation we envision for all Californians.
Our powerful network of grassroots organizations is fighting prison and jail expansion up and down the state, standing up to the people who think building more prisons and jails is the answer to society’s neglect of poor communities of color. CURB is a coalition that I am proud to be a part of.
We fought for and won a bill expanding the Alternative Custody Program, because parents should be able to care for their children outside of prison walls — not transferred to prisons that would supposedly meet their needs through programming. We are pushing for an elder parole bill because older prisoners, like Ivan, should be released so they can return to their communities — not locked in prisons for the elderly.
We are building a powerful grassroots movement for justice and freedom, and we rely on the support of community members like you to make it happen.
Your support enables CURB to continue building the capacity of grassroots organizations fighting prison and jail expansion in California. Thanks to you, we are advancing strategies to move resources out of the state’s massive prison and jail system and into community health, well-being, and care.
With hope and gratitude,