Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Protesting Jail Funding

blog jailsSin Barras calls on community to reject jail expansion grant

The Board of State and Community Corrections officially recommended yesterday, Thursday, Jan. 16, that Santa Cruz County receive a $24.8 million grant sought for expansion at the Rountree Detention Center in South County.

Holding signs with slogans such as “Invest in Jobs, Health and Education—Not Incarceration,” members of Sin Barras, Californians United for a Responsible Budget and their supporters rallied yesterday afternoon around the Clock Tower in Downtown Santa Cruz to call on the public to ask our local Board of Supervisors to reject the funds and encourage voters to tell officials “No More Money for Jails!” The grant money is provided for in Senate Bill 1022, which allocates state funding for local, adult criminal justice facilities. The Board of Supervisors has 90 days to either accept or decline the funds.

Last year, Lt. Shea Johnson, who runs the Rountree facilities, applied for the grant in an effort to be able to reopen and renovate previously closed sections of the jail campus. She told Good Times she would use the grant to ramp up vocational and occupational education programs at the facility, and that it would provide more classroom space for teaching skills like basic computer programs, resume-writing and how to conduct oneself in a job interview.

Johnson and other officials with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the county’s adult jail facilities, say the grant would also help ease overcrowding at the Main Jail in Santa Cruz. With the state’s prison overhaul in 2011, more inmates are being sentenced to jails for longer periods of time in facilities that were meant for short-term stays. The Main Jail is also consistently overcrowded, housing more inmates than its rated capacity. Johnson and others hope that by renovating Rountree, more inmates could be transferred there and provided training programs. County officials believe it would reduce crowding and help with reducing recidivism.

Still, members of Sin Barras worry that spending money on jails instead of on other important aspects of the community sets a dangerous precedent. They would rather see more money being spent on schools, drug prevention and recovery and other types of programs that could potentially help deter people from going to jail in the first place. The specific grant money county officials are seeking is only earmarked for adult jail facilities, but either way, “the taxpayers will be paying,” says Courtney Hanson.

Hanson is a member of Sin Barras and CURB who participated in yesterday’s rally.

“We’re hoping this is the beginning of building a movement over the next 90 days to protest the expansion of the jail,” she says. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the application for the grant back in October, but the application had to then go to state officials. Now that the state entity has approved the grant, it comes back to county officials for the final approval. 

Protesters acknowledge that Santa Cruz County has been relatively progressive and innovative when it comes to pursuing alternatives to incarceration, but they don’t believe it’s enough. They say all jails are unsafe and imprisonment breaks up families, causes people to lose their jobs and exacerbates mental and physical health problems. They call it an outrage that the legislation can allocate funding for community jails while critical programs like affordable housing, schools and drug treatment continually go underfunded.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.