There are some big shifts in policing and imprisonment happening across the state of California, and we at Critical Resistance (CR) and our movement partners and community members are keeping a close eye on the changing landscape. Scanning across the state we see the prison industrial complex (PIC) working to seize different crises in order to expand its reach, all the while communities directly impacted by the PIC’s harm and destruction relentlessly fighting back.

In San Pablo county, for instance, a new fight has been emerging to stop the construction of a new Cop Campus. Folks are organizing and mobilizing to block Cop Campus development and construction. If built, it will further oppress the Black, Brown, and poor communities with increasingly racist and harmful policing practices. This is following the trend of 69 related projects existing across the country. We know this is part of the PIC’s moves to grow its methods of mass capture, but we also know our people will continue to fight and win.

Across California, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is continuing to work hard to close 10 prisons across the state by 2025. Most recently, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has recommended the CA Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) close 5 additional state prisons. With our sister chapter in Los Angeles (CRLA), CR is organizing to close the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in Norco in southern California due to its particularly toxic and horrendous conditions. Plus, many community members and lawmakers have supported its closure. We’re mobilizing our communities to turn out to legislative hearings on the statewide corrections budget to ensure that the voices who oppose the ridiculous amounts of spending are heard loud and clear. We are demanding what we really want–prisons closed and communities invested in, both where prisons are and where people who are imprisoned are from.

Join CR & CURB to help make our demands heard by attending these hearings and sending in a letter to demand CDCR’s budget gets cut like the LAO recommended. Together, we can get these prisons closed for good, bring our people home, and build up strong and safe communities.

CR also stands in solidarity with our movement partners California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) and the Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition as they continue to resist and support imprisoned survivors of decades of sexual assault and violence while at Federal Correction Institution (FCI) Dublin in Alameda County. As a result of their tireless organizing, court order oversight was announced on April 5 in light of the rampant staff abuse, medical neglect and retaliation. However this past Monday (April 15), Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) staff traumatized imprisoned people by hurriedly loading them onto buses in the morning before the judge and Special Master assigned to the oversight knew of their plans. CR Oakland stands with CCWP and other movement partners in calling for our people to be released from BOP custody as soon as possible.

We demand to CLOSE CA CAGES NOW with RELEASES, NOT TRANSFERS! Bring our loved ones home!

From CCWP & the Coalition: “The entire Federal Bureau of Prisons is plagued by the same issues present at Dublin, including staff sexual abuse, widespread retaliation, and abhorrent medical care. We will not let the BOP succeed with its effort to disappear the people detained at Dublin and the support systems they have courageously built. We are committed to maintaining our community advocacy, litigation, and solidarity across the walls!”

Also in Alameda County, we celebrate the Care First Community Coalition’s victory, where through years of organizing and hard work they finally defeated the Santa Rita Jail expansion. The coalition of organizers, frontline care workers, formerly imprisoned people, and folks of faith came together to shed light on the true nature of this jail expansion project. They built up the understanding in the media and to elected officials of what we already know – imprisonment will never make our communities safe and is never what we want. Now, they’re working to get the $81 million reallocated to get people out of cages and back to community, build permanent supportive housing, and invest in community-based mental healthcare.

With this win, CR cheers on our comrades in the coalition & keeps fighting to close prisons across the state. We won’t stop fighting, and together, we’ll be build a cage-free California, a future for us all.