Community Based Solutions Not Jail Expansion
CURB, Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Los Angeles, CA 2011
CURB* poster, made prominent at the July 27, 2011 Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, meeting is featured in a photo, by Nick Ut on the Washington Post.
Community Organizations and L.A. Activists Protest Jail Overcrowding, Call for Probation Reform, Sentencing Reform, and Money for Programs and Services
Californians United for a Responsible Budget, CURB, is a broad-based, state-wide alliance of over 40 organizations seeking to CURB prison spending by reducing the number of people in prison and the number of prisons in the state. www.curbprisonspending.org
Members of several CURB organizations, All of Us or None, A New Way of Life, Youth Justice Coalition, and Critical Resistance and supporters held up placards demanding that the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors put more money allocated through AB109 into community based solutions rather than continued oversight by the sheriff’s department or the dysfunctional probation department.
The recent landmark US Supreme Court ruling condemned California prison overcrowding and called for the immediate reduction of the prison population by at least 33,000 prisoners. The Los Angeles County Jail currently holds around 20,000 prisoners on any given day, with a total capacity for 22,000. Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Department of Corrections’ response to the Supreme Court’s ruling would shift at least 11,000 prisoners to the LA County Jail over two years.
Mary Sutton, of Critical Resistance and an active member of CURB, says “We can bring people home safely, more humanely and more efficiently by making sentencing, probation and parole reforms. 35 years ago people were not locked up for the kind of infractions we are talking about in regards to the individuals that will be sent home to LA County. The prison population grew from 20,000 to as high as 180,000 because of harsh sentencing laws and tough on crime measures implemented in the 70s, 80s and 90s. If we free up the resources that are wasted on ineffective policies that are proven not to increase public safety, we could fund programs in L.A. that would reintegrate people into their communities, and keep them there."
Sutton submitted, to the Board of Supervisors, copies of CURB’s Budget for Humanity and their long standing document “50 Ways to Reduce the Prison Population” , for the record.
The Youth Justice Coalition, a youth empowerment program based in Inglewood, presented its Welcome Home LA plan, which outlines ways Los Angeles County can concretely support re-entry for people on parole and probation. The plan calls for resources for community organizations that could help people get off of parole and probation and stay out of jail and prison. Welcome Home LA also calls for banning the box on employment applications that force people to disclose their conviction histories. Henry Sandoval of the Youth Justice Coalition says, “LA needs to prioritize a way for people returning home to be able to get good jobs, education, healthcare, making sure they know about services and are followed up with. There are organizations that can do this. Beefing up the jails, parole, probation, these are just black holes. The real issue is keeping people out of the system altogether. “