On Monday, Feb. 25, the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, chaired by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, held a hearing on the state’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The hearing comes 18 months after the committee held a similar hearing prompted by a three-week long hunger strike in June 2011 that involved thousands of California prisoners across the state. Monday’s hearing focused on the implementation of new CDCR policies and considerations of their appropriateness.
Yesterday’s election results show Californians calling for additional cuts to the prison population and corrections budget while approving new taxes to save programs like education, welfare, childcare and healthcare. Voters resoundingly passed Proposition 36 by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin. Proposition 30 was passed by voters 54 percent to 46 percent.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano decried Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto yesterday of legislation that would have returned openness to California’s prison system. Ammiano’s bill, AB 1270, would have restored, not expanded as noted in the veto message, media access to the level that existed in 1996 when the CDC clamped down on the press’ ability to interview specific prisoners.
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, San Mateo’s Board of Supervisors voted to approve $44.2 million in the 2012-2013 budget, ramming through a plan to build a new jail over strong and growing concerns from community members. With the jail approved in the budget, residents committed to defeating the jail tax that will be on the November ballot.
At least 200 people from across San Mateo County packed the Board of Supervisors chambers this morning giving hours of testimony against $44 million in new jail spending slated for approval in the 2012-2013 budget. Chanting, “No new jails!” as they left the supervisors’ chambers, opponents of the proposed jail sent a clear message that a new jail is not welcome in the county.
Update: Gov. Brown signed AB 1270 Aug. 31, restoring the conditions that existed before 1996, when corrections officials cut down on reporters’ ability to report on prisons and prisoners. “With passage of AB 1270, legislators have voted for transparent and accountable reporting of the state’s 32 prisons and the more than 130,000 prisoners locked inside their walls.”
AB 1270, legislation that would increase transparency and media access to California’s notorious state prison system, is currently facing opposition in the Senate Appropriations Committee. CDCR is formally opposing the bill, citing cost as their main concern. There are two ways that you can help: Attend a Lobby Day on Aug. 9 or phone committee members from home before Aug. 13.
12Page 2 of 2