How to Stop a Jail in Your Town

Written and compiled by Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB).

Here in California many sheriffs are planning to expand county jail systems, and in most of those counties residents are questioning whether a bigger jail and more county spending going to the sheriff’s budget is necessary. Almost 2/3 of the people in California jails last year were being held pre-trial, meaning that they hadn’t been convicted yet.

CURB believes that expanding the number of jail or prison cells is terrible public policy. We incarcerate too many people for too long, already. Tax dollars that were used a generation ago to pay for schools and public housing have been diverted to pay for more law enforcement and incarceration.

If you’re wondering whether your county really needs more jail cells – or if you’re already determined that it doesn’t, we have put together some resources to help you and your neighbors sort through what some of the key issues are, what the policy alternatives to jail expansion are and what you can do to move your county away from a disastrous jail expansion project.

Download as a PDF

There are a lot of reports and fact sheets about jails. We’ve selected 10 of the best. They’re easy to read and will give you a solid overview of what can be done in your county, and how you can take steps to put your county on the right path.

We’ve listed some other resources for those of you who want to dig a little deeper into public policy questions about jails.

More information at

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