Saturday, January 11, 2014

Californians Rally Today to Denounce Plan to Spend a Half a Billion Dollars to Build and Maintain More Prisons

On Friday, Californians across the state will gather in key regions to rally and condemn California Governor Jerry Brown’s newly released 2014-15 budget proposal, which will increase the amount the state spends on prisons. Brown’s proposal would raise the Corrections Department budget from $9.2 billion to $9.8 billion, nearly 10 percent of the entire state budget, and allocate $500 million to building more county jails.

Part of Brown’s motivation to expand prisons throughout the state is to meet a 2009 order to lower the inmate population to 137.5 percent of the prisons’ designed capacities to reduce overcrowding. Brown has failed to meet the 2013 deadline for this prisoner reduction and has asked the court for a two-year extension. But instead of focusing on reducing the state’s number of prisoners, Brown has plans to build nearly 6,000 new prison beds. Diana Zuñiga, statewide field organizer of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), said that there are also talks of building three new prison facilities that would cost $810 million to construct, which would then be double due to interest payments as well as cost $100,000 each year to upkeep.

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