Assembly member Mark Stone of Santa Cruz and Monterey has recently introduced a policy that would allow counties to continue to transfer prisons to other county jails. Since we heard the news, we have been working with local organizations in the Monterey Bay area to let the Assemblymember and the Legislature know that we do NOT support the coerced transfer of prisoners far away from their families.
This kind of forced transfer of prisoners is another deceptive form of jail expansion and puts an unfair strain on families, disintegrating the support structures that are integral to rehabilitation.
Sin Barras has met with Stone and delivered 200 petition signatures opposing the bill, asking for the implementation of SUSTAINABLE solutions to jail overcrowding, such as lowering of the bail schedule, increasing pretrial services, and increasing the use of split sentencing. As a resident of Assemblymembers Stone’s district, we hope you join us in opposing this policy by adding your signature today!
Check it out! This comic will also be featured in UC Santa Cruz’s 2014 Disorientation Guide. Feel free to click on the image for the full effect.
Download The Realignment Crisis as pdf.
The Crisis of Realignment
California’s prisons are overcrowded. So overcrowded that in 2011, the US Supreme Court ordered the state of California to reduce its prison population by 10,000 inmates. Instead of simply releasing them, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has tried to keep as many people behind bars as possible by moving them to county jails and private prisons. This shuffling about of prisoners has been termed “Public Safety Realignment”, or just “Realignment” for short.
As a result of the influx of state prisoners through Realignment, county jails are also growing increasingly overcrowded. To reduce the pressure on overcrowded jails, the state has set aside $500 million for jail expansion projects. This money will be divided up between different counties to pay for construction costs. Once built, the new or expanded jails will be operated by their home counties, with some financial help from the state. If all this comes to pass, county jails will function as an extension to the state prison system, while the root causes of overcrowding go unaddressed. We will be left with a bigger, more expensive prison and jail system, and less money for programs that would keep people out of jail in the first place: education, housing, mental health services, addiction counseling, job training, and community centers.
At the same time that legislators and law enforcement leaders are trying to build more cages, a coalition of grassroots organizations around the state is working to stop them. Individual groups are advocating for alternatives to incarceration in their host counties, and are coordinating with folks in other regions to mobilize for strategic statewide actions. It’s too soon to tell how this movement will unfold, but the demands are clear: build strong communities, not jails.
Movers and Shakers,
As we wrap up the holiday weekend and prepare for an abundant new year, Sin Barras is looking forward to ending 2013 with a big bang! Our statewide coalition, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), is mobilizing to California’s Board & State Community Corrections Board Hearing this Wednesday December 4th to oppose jail expansion and the governor’s priorities and we need all hands on deck.
Filmed by Alex Darocy
Sin Barras March in Santa Cruz
Noise Demonstration at Santa Cruz County Jail
Tash & Courtney of Sin Barras – Santa Cruz Town Clock
Former Inmates Speak at Santa Cruz County Jail
Penny of Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity – Santa Cruz County Jail
All of Us or None – Santa Cruz County Jail
Good Samaritan Mobile Medics Unit – Sin Barras Rally
Simba Kenyatta – Santa Cruz County Jail
Becky Johnson – Santa Cruz County Jail
Demonstration at Santa Cruz County Jail with Brass Liberation Orchestra
March to Santa Cruz County Jail
Rascuache Production produced a fantastic video of some incredible speakers and moments. Thanks Edgar!