For Immediate Release
The Close CA Prisons campaign demands at least 7 more state prisons closed by 2025, dramatic cuts to the corrections budget, and investment in communities most impacted by incarceration
CALIFORNIA––Yesterday, more than 250 people attended the Close California Prisons campaign online rally and press conference in response to Governor Newom’s 2023-24 Proposed Budget Summary released on January 10th. Members of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) and other criminal legal reform advocates are demanding that the administration and state legislature adopt a community-informed roadmap to close at least seven more prisons by 2025 as part of this year’s budget process.
CURB’s Roadmap Overview details how California can prepare for and carry out closures, support communities impacted by incarceration, and invest in towns where prisons will be closed. The full report will be released in February of 2023.
During the rally’s two hour program, over 500 supporters sent letters to the Assembly and Senate Sub 5 Public Safety Committees and Governor Newsom demanding action on prison closure, and a reduction to the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) bloated $14.5 billion budget.
READ QUOTES FROM THE CLOSE CA PRISONS RALLY:
“According to the proposed budget, California will save $417 million from closing prisons, yet CDCR will still receive a budget increase this year of $468 million. How does that make sense? California is facing a $24 billion deficit and CDCR is a money pit––instead of wasting resources on a state department with out of control spending, these dollars should be invested back into the communities that need it most.”––Brian Kaneda, Deputy Director, CURB
“Now is the time for the state to address prison closure in the coming budget cycle and beyond. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis, the significant downward trend in the state prison population suggests that even after terminating the CAC [California City Correctional Facility] contract and closing DVI [Deuel Vocational Institution], CCC [California Correctional Center], CVSP [Chuckawalla Valley State Prison], and three additional prisons by 2025, California prisons may still have 10,000 empty prison beds. It’s vital we adopt a concrete roadmap for a decarceral just transition.”––Amber-Rose Howard, Executive Director, CURB
“The state’s commitments to economic justice, racial justice, and environmental justice must include a concrete plan for closing prisons. In the past 12 years, despite a decrease in our prison population, we’ve seen CDCR’s budget grow by more than $5 billion. Today, our state spends $18.6 billion on corrections every year. And in the Governor’s proposed budget released just earlier this week, corrections spending increased by another half a billion dollars, despite further projected population drops of 6.6%.”–– Isa Borgeson, Inside/Outside Senior Organizer, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
“The recently announced closure of Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Riverside County, the third such announcement in two years, has increased the inventory of empty prisons in California. Rather than keeping closed prisons in ‘warm shutdown’ mode, costing taxpayers millions, closed prisons should be torn down or repurposed for positive non-carceral use, examples of which nation-wide are cited in the national study by the Sentencing Project. California must close its prisons and repurpose those closed prisons into spaces that serve our communities economically and socially.”––Yoel Haile, Director of the Criminal Justice Program, ACLU NorCal
“Closing prisons will help us fund what we really need to create a safe California for us all: thorough and supportive reentry infrastructure to help folks secure employment, healthcare and housing, services that support survivors like trauma care, health services, and financial support, and comprehensive mental health treatment without police or prisons.” ––Genevieve Romero, Care First CA Coalition Coordinator, Dignity and Power Now
“California should end all forms of extended sentencing in the interest of public health, fiscal responsibility, and to facilitate the number of releases necessary for prison closure. We need to end the draconian sentencing policies that were put into law over the past 30 years. This includes 3 strikes, life without parole [LWOP] sentencing, gang and gun enhancements––all of which have condemned thousands upon thousands of our people to unending imprisonment.”––Woods Ervin, National Media & Communications Director, Critical Resistance
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is a Black-led statewide coalition of more than 80 grassroots organizations. Our three point mission is to reduce the number of incarcerated people in California; reduce the number of prison and jails in our state; and shift wasteful spending away from incarceration and toward healthy community investments.