Critics of California Governor’s Prison Plan Agree with San Quentin Advisory Council $120 Million Cut as State Faces Budget Deficit

Via Pxfuel

By The Vanguard Staff

SACRAMENTO, CA – Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) Friday released a statement agreeing with the San Quentin Advisory Council’s final report that called for a “substantial reduction in the $360 million funding for San Quentin’s Building 38, by at least a third.”

“As the state faces a $68 billion deficit, we urge Gov. (Gavin) Newsom to reaffirm his commitment towards more impactful, cost-effective criminal justice reforms like prison closure, potentially saving billions. This key recommendation from the Governor’s own council echoes our long-standing position—this building is too expensive,” charged Brian Kaneda, Deputy Director of CURB. 

Kaneda added, “However, instead of reallocating saved funds to other costly infrastructure, we advocate for a general shift in fiscal priorities towards community-based programs like reentry initiatives.”

CURB noted Newsom originally had created the council to “shape his new incarceration model and San Quentin’s rebranding as a rehabilitation center,” and applauded the advisory body’s work but noted the “absence of currently incarcerated council members and called for more transparency and engagement from the public.”

CURB delivered a letter last year to the council —signed by dozens of organizations demanding more transformational reforms—that declared, “Revisiting the building plan is a step in the right direction, but we need deeper changes.”

Kaneda added. “We support culture change at CDCR and principled efforts towards better supporting incarcerated people, particularly the implementation of the demands made by currently incarcerated organizers. But we’re keen to see the budgetary impact of recommendations citing the California Model. We’re cautious about CDCR using this framework as a pretext for unwarranted spending. 

“The recent inadequacy of CDCR’s budget-mandated capacity report has heightened these concerns. We’ll better understand CDCR’s true focus from the upcoming budget—whether it’s genuinely about improving lives or simply seeking more funds. 

“Given the deficit, it’s vital Newsom incorporates long-term saving strategies like additional prison closure as part of any plan to address the incarceration crisis.”

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