Jan 17 2012
Based on a US Supreme Court decision in 2011 to uphold a ruling for California to reduce overcrowding in its prisons, twenty five counties in this state are being invited to apply for billions in funding to expand their jail systems. The money is being distributed state-wide by the Corrections Standards Authority, which has already awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to more than 10 California counties for a first phase of jail construction. Chief among the counties for phase 2 funding is the LA County Jail system, picked to top the priority list because it has the most prisoners in the state to begin with. Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca, notorious for reports of torture and harsh conditions in his prison system, and under local and federal scrutiny, has applied for a sum of $2.6 billion. The LA County Board of Supervisors is due to vote this month on approving Baca’s application. But groups like the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Youth Justice Coalition, and Californians United for a Responsible Budget, are collecting signatures to petition the County Board of Supervisors to vote against the deal. They say LA has enough jails and that the best way to ease overcrowding is to stop imprisoning so many people in the first place. Violent crime in Los Angeles and nationwide is at an all time low. A new report by the LAPD and LA Sheriff’s department found that crime in 2011 was significantly lower than in 2010. The LA Times quoted a spokesman for Sheriff Baca who said, “[c]ommunities seem to be banding together to fight crime. We can’t take the complete credit.”
GUEST: David Chavez, Movement Builder with the Youth Justice Coalition
Visit www.curbprisonspending.org to sign a petition to the LA County Board of Supervisors.
The LA County Board of Supervisors will be reviewing Sheriff Lee Baca’s application for billions of dollars of prison construction funds on Tuesday January 24th at 9:30 am at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St. Los Angeles, CA 90012.
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