Prison Reform Targets Decades-long Oppression; ‘Tough On Crime’ Rhetoric Targets Newsom, Charge Reformers

By Christopher Datu and Nina Hall

SACRAMENTO, CA – The recent increase to the credit earning structure for incarcerated individuals has sparked the opposition to take another stab at undermining Gov. Gavin Newsom’s commitment to reducing incarceration in California.

Those questioning the changes have questioned Governor Newsom’s commitment to public safety, proclaiming he will “put us all at greater risk.”

However, those in favor of the reforms condemn such “tough on crime” rhetoric as overlooking the previous failures in California’s prison legislation that led to the rates of mass incarceration today, ranking the state second for highest incarcerated population in the country.

Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) maintains such initiatives for population reduction strategies are no easy feat, requiring impacted communities and grassroots organizations to secure court-ordered programs, citizen-initiative ballots, and sentencing reform policies.

Executive Director of CURB, Amber-Rose Howard, is supportive but not content and looks to the State to make sure “changes like these and other changes to the penal code are retroactive so people currently under the thumb of failed criminal justice practices can access relief that is long overdue.”

For Howard, the executive order is another avenue Governor Newsom should take by granting more clemencies such as reprieves, commutations, and pardons.

This vision held by Howard demands, “The burden should not remain centered on people impacted by incarceration to earn their way out of a system that the state has admitted is racist and unjust in practice.”

CURB believes at least 10 more prisons should be out of operation by 2025, in accordance with the People’s Plan for Prison Closure.

One of many groups oriented around prison reform, CURB rallied together with other Democratic advocacy groups for the principal purpose of seeing more releases and shorter sentencing in the near future.

Christopher Datu is a 4th year Political Science major at UC Davis. He is originally from Corona, California.

Nina Hall is a sophomore from Colorado at Santa Clara University studying English and Sociology.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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