Invest in People, Not Prisons!
1.1K views | +0 today
Follow
Invest in People, Not Prisons!
Contra Costa faith and community leaders are uniting in their call for an end to mass incarceration and deportation
Curated by CCISCO
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Guest commentary: Sheriff Livingston's deceptive plan for increasing jail space is shameful

Guest commentary: Sheriff Livingston's deceptive plan for increasing jail space is shameful | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston wants to add 416 new jail beds to the detention facility in Richmond, even though by his own numbers the jail has a 44 percent vacancy rate.
CCISCO's insight:

Take Action! Call the Board of Supervisor who represents the district you live or work in and tell them you OPPOSE the Jail expansion. Call TODAY!

District 3: Supervisor Mary Piepho, Call: 925-252-4500

District 2: Supervisor Candace Andersen, Call: 925-646-6067

District 1: Supervisor John Gioia, Call: 510-231-8686

District 4: Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Call: 925-521-7100

District 5: Federal Glover, Call: 925-427-8138

Not sure which district you live or work in? Click here for a county map to identify your BOS member<http://www.contracosta.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/6505>.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

INVEST IN PEOPLE, NOT PRISONS: Building Strategic Capacity to End Mass Incarceration in Contra Costa County and California

I’m reading Medium Raw on Scribd… Mass incarceration presents one of the great threats to the future of American democracy and shared prosperity.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Assembly committee hears ideas on reducing prison and jail...

A state Assembly committee gathered ideas from Bay Area law enforcement and community representatives at a hearing in San Francisco Wednesdayon how to help people avoid going to prison and avoid going back.
CCISCO's insight:

Programs described by local experts included diversion projects, alternative community courts, gang ceasefire efforts and services for released prisoners making the transition back to their communities.

Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon told the committee that such programs make sense not only morally but economically as well.

 

"These things come with tremendous savings," said Gascon, who said the average cost of keeping a person incarcerated for a year is $50,000.

 

Magnus described Operation Ceasefire, a collaboration among the city of Richmond and church and community groups to encourage gang members to give up violence.  Known gang members are summoned to a "call in," attended by community representatives, including grandmothers, and law enforcement officials, Magnus said.  "The message from both is the same: 'The shooting must stop,'" he said.  The gang members are told they have a choice of making use of services to help them get education and jobs, or risking arrest and prosecution if they commit crimes, the police chief said.  Magnus said, "It's not perfect but despite the challenges, I believe the ceasefire is a very important investment," because it has resulted in about 20 percent of those who attend the call-ins deciding to give up violence.  "From our standpoint, if we can get two out of 10 individuals to make that choice to stop the shooting, it means we have less homicide," he said.  


Other programs in Richmond include responding to community concerns about park safety and providing services to youth outside of the court system to reduce truancy, he said.  "A strong relationship with the community has helped to drive down the homicide rate," said Magnus, who said the number has fallen from 65 when he took office in 2006 to 16 thus far this year.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Seeking Redemption: Private Prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown and All of Us

As we consider how and when to allow hundreds of thousands of incarcerated individuals in this state to return home, we must ask ourselves whether we want to resemble the son or the father in this parable.
CCISCO's insight:
A coalition of clergy, faith leaders and formerly incarcerated citizens of PICO California's Lifelines to Healing Campaign united this week calling for a new path. Rather than sign contracts with for-profit prison companies, Governor Brown -- and every other governor and legislature across the country -- should sign a social contract with those that most need our support.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

George Nova Miller (Ban the box of exclusion)Speech

Community Organization CCISCO held a Public Form seeking realistic solutions to one of the greatest problems of our time, Mass Incarceration and Re-entry at ...
CCISCO's insight:

Powerful presentation and testimony from George Nova Miller at the "Invest in People, Not Prisons" action in Brentwood, California at His Presence Christian Center in June 2013.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Should employers know about an applicant's criminal past?

Richmond, Calif. City Council voted to enact 'ban-the-box' law
CCISCO's insight:

Richmond City Council Member Jovanka Beckles talks about why she decided to work with the Safe Return Project to pass the Ban the Box ordinance in the city of Richmond. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

More prospective employees' criminal pasts become off-limits

More prospective employees' criminal pasts become off-limits | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
A California city became the latest U.S. municipality to pass an ordinance prohibiting city contractors from ever inquiring about many job applicants' criminal histories, furthering a national trend.
CCISCO's insight:

'Ban the Box' Laws Make Criminal Pasts Off-Limits Richmond, Calif., Becomes Latest to Prohibit Inquiries Into Job Applicants' Prior Misdeeds

RICHMOND, Calif.—City officials in this San Francisco suburb passed an ordinance this past week prohibiting city contractors from ever inquiring about many job applicants' criminal histories.


The move in this city of 100,000 people, which is troubled by crime and high unemployment, is part of a growing national trend that supporters say is designed to improve the community's employment prospects amid wider incarceration.


Under the ordinance, approved by the City Council in a 6-1 vote and set to take effect in September, private companies that have city contracts and that employ more than nine people won't be able to ask anything about an applicant's criminal record; otherwise they would lose their city contracts. The ordinance is one of the nation's strictest "ban-the-box" laws, which are so called because many job applications contain a box to check if one has a criminal record.


"Once we pay our debt, I think the playing field should be fair," said Andres Abarra of Richmond, who was released from San Quentin State Prison in 2006 after serving 16 months for selling heroin. Mr. Abarra, 60 years old, said he lost his first job out of prison, at a warehouse, about a month after a temporary agency hired him. The agency ran a background check and "let me go on the spot," he said. He now works for an advocacy group called Safe Return that campaigned for the ordinance.

Others say the laws potentially endanger both employers and the public. "We have a responsibility to protect our customers, protect other employees and then the company itself" from potential crime, said Kelly Knott, senior director for government relations of the National Retail Federation, an industry group in Washington, D.C., which hasn't taken a position on ban-the-box laws but has cautioned against federal guidance that could limit how employers use background checks.


Richmond, with a population of about 100,000, joins 51 other municipalities that have passed similar ordinances, many in the past five years. Last year, Newark, N.J., barred private employers and the city government from inquiring into a job applicant's criminal history until they have made a conditional offer of employment, and employers can only take into consideration certain offenses committed within the past five to eight years. Murder, voluntary manslaughter and sex offenses requiring registry can be inquired about no matter how much time has passed.

Ten states also have enacted ban-the-box legislation, according to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit group that advocates for the laws. Many of those laws don't apply to job applications for "sensitive" positions, such as those involving work with children.


Last year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance that doesn't bar the use of criminal checks but that urges employers to consider the crime, its relation to an applicant's potential job, and how much time has passed since the conviction. In June, the EEOC sued two large employers, alleging they used criminal background checks in ways that could disproportionately affect African-Americans.

 

In 2010, one in every 12 black men aged 18-64 in the U.S. was incarcerated, versus one in every 87 white men, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a public-policy nonprofit. Nearly 27% of the population in Richmond is black, according to a 2012 U.S. Census estimate.

 

In Michigan, where a ban-the-box law has been proposed, the state's Chamber of Commerce is concerned businesses could face liability lawsuits after hiring ex-convicts if they end up hurting someone, said Wendy Block, a spokeswoman. "We feel the [existing federal] provisions are sufficient in terms of trying to prohibit job discrimination against former felons," Ms. Block said.

 

In Richmond, which had an unemployment rate of 11.9% in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city's Chamber of Commerce didn't take a position on the measure. But Chamber President and CEO Judith Morgan said the city's businesses "understand the need here to put people back to work and give people second chances." Ms. Morgan cautioned, however, that it is "nebulous" how the city will enforce the measure.


The Richmond ordinance also makes exceptions for jobs the city deems "sensitive," and it allows criminal background checks for positions, like police-department and schoolteacher jobs, for which federal or state law requires them.


Tamisha Walker, a 32-year-old college student who spent six months in prison for arson in 2009, campaigned for the new ordinance and said she hopes it can help Richmond be a place where people believe they can live successfully. She said a lot of people in Richmond want to "get out of Richmond and never come back. And it's sad, because we lose a lot of talent that way."

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

East Bay Profile: Ex-inmate works to help the formerly incarcerated in West Contra Costa

East Bay Profile: Ex-inmate works to help the formerly incarcerated in West Contra Costa | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
Andres Abarra works two community-based jobs, and he recently finished a yearlong volunteer stint on the community advisory board for Contra Costa Countys public safety realignment plan, helping men and women coming out of the same jail in which...
more...
Author Glenn Thomas Langohr's comment, July 19, 2013 12:05 PM
After serving 10 years in California prisons and 4 years in solitary confinement, I just spoke about that on PBS~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6csHeGqpe20 Tap this link for my Prison Books~ http://amzn.to/1bhqCUh I shined a light on Prison Overcrowding, the Hunger Strike, the lack of Rehabilitation and then pointed to a better way. To check out "My Hardest Step" in Print, being adapted for TV go here~ http://amzn.to/1930Lif
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Stopping Jail Expansion in Contra Costa

3 members of Richmond Ca's, Safe Return Team talk about the campaign to a stop proposed jail expansion in Contra Costa County.
CCISCO's insight:

3 members of Richmond California's Safe Return Team - Jonny Perez, Tamisha Walker, and Charles Newsome, talk about the campaign to a stop proposed jail expansion in Contra Costa County which shifted more than 4 Million dollars of state funds to make investments in people coming home. Specifically this money will be spent for services, job training and transitional housing for formerly incarcerated people throughout Contra Costa County.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

INVEST IN PEOPLE, NOT PRISONS: Building Strategic Capacity to End Mass Incarceration in Contra Costa County and California

Mass incarceration presents one of the great threats to the future of American democracy and shared prosperity.
CCISCO's insight:

Mass incarceration presents one of the great threats to the future of American democracy and shared prosperity.  At the same time, this crisis presents a tremendous opportunity to build strategic alliances that can help to transform our region, state and country.  Today, more than half of California's counties are investing funding they received from the state to build or expand their local jails.  Contra Costa County is the first county in the state of California to defeat a proposed jail expansion and has invested in an ambitious strategy to build pathways to self-sufficiency and lifelong liberty that shuts the revolving door to prison.  We believe that there are a set of learnings from the organizing and movement-building experience in Contra Costa County that can help to inform a powerful movement to dismantle mass incarceration and expand freedom and opportunity to the most marginalized communities in California.  It is critical to understand that the current conditions are not natural, rational, inevitable or sustainable.  They can only be resolved by a sustained confrontation and dialogue about our values and commitment to live in a multiracial and equitable democracy.  This is not a technical challenge about planning and policy, but rather a more fundamental confrontation with the essential questions of racial equity, control, and power in California.

more...
Author Glenn Thomas Langohr's comment, July 19, 2013 12:05 PM
After serving 10 years in California prisons and 4 years in solitary confinement, I just spoke about that on PBS~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6csHeGqpe20 Tap this link for my Prison Books~ http://amzn.to/1bhqCUh I shined a light on Prison Overcrowding, the Hunger Strike, the lack of Rehabilitation and then pointed to a better way. To check out "My Hardest Step" in Print, being adapted for TV go here~ http://amzn.to/1930Lif
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Formerly incarcerated men encourage others to vote

Formerly incarcerated men encourage others to vote | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
Johnny Valdepena, a 46-year-old Richmond resident who has spent more of his life in prison than out of it, will vote for the first time next week.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

New CA Statewide Poll Results on Criminal Justice Issues | Tulchin Research

Tulchin Research recently conducted a statewide survey among likely California voters to assess public opinion toward budget priorities and criminal justice issues one year into the state’s “realignment” plan to shift certain public safety responsibilities and resources to the counties.

 

In general, voters believe our elected officials should invest much more into alternatives to incarceration than they are doing now and they do not want taxpayer dollars used to build more prisons and jails.Specifically, voters in California strongly support reforming pre-trial release policies to require supervised monitoring in the community instead of jail while awaiting trial and they are willing to hold elected officials accountable for not supporting this reform.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Contra Costa tables controversial jail expansion

Contra Costa tables controversial jail expansion | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it

Contra Costa officials announced at an emotionally-charged meeting Thursday morning that they would postpone a decision to build more jail beds and instead look into alternative solutions to reduce prison populations, a move that was applauded by Richmond residents, nonprofits, faith leaders, and government groups.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Viewpoints: One county’s success story with realignment - The Sacramento Bee

Viewpoints: One county’s success story with realignment - The Sacramento Bee | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
In analyzing people on felony probation in Contra Costa County over a three-year period, I found the recidivism rate to be 20 percent – far lower than the rates of 60 percent or higher found statewide.
CCISCO's insight:

Something is happening, quietly, in Contra Costa County that should get the attention of the entire state. If it did, we could be on the road to much better, more cost-effective policies for keeping our communities safe.


Saving jail space and money is important, but the key question is whether such practices actually improve safety. In analyzing people on felony probation in Contra Costa over a three-year period, I found the recidivism rate to be 20 percent – far lower than the rates of 60 percent or higher found statewide, in other studies. The latest numbers from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation show that 61 percent of state prisoners released returned within three years.


Considering these safety gains, and the fact that probation can cost $100 less per day per person than county jail, it’s important for local and state leaders to re-examine how we hold nonviolent people accountable – and the terms of their probation.


There are also important lessons from Contra Costa’s results: close coordination among key criminal justice agencies, a public defender’s office that provides effective representation to defendants at all court proceedings, a strong probation department respected for providing quality supervision, and contracts with medical, mental health and support treatment services to augment probation supervision.


Some other counties have innovative, effective strategies like this in place. But the road map that they and Contra Costa offer for smarter, less expensive justice policies is too often obscured by the politics of crime and punishment.


If we only listen to the loudest critics of Public Safety Realignment, we’ll fail to hear the quiet success stories taking place in Contra Costa and elsewhere that actually can make this law a public safety success for California.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/19/6079080/viewpoints-one-countys-success.html#storylink=cpy
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

The State Worker: Jerry Brown signs bill to ban felony question on public job apps - sacbee.com

The State Worker: Jerry Brown signs bill to ban felony question on public job apps - sacbee.com | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that bans government employers from asking job applicants about their criminal record until later in the hiring process, effectively extending the state's policy...
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

With Annual Incarceration Costs Hitting $50,000, Law Enforcement Officials Tout Alternative Programs

With Annual Incarceration Costs Hitting $50,000, Law Enforcement Officials Tout Alternative Programs | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
A state Assembly committee gathered ideas from Bay Area law enforcement and community representatives at a hearing in San Francisco today on how to help people avoid going to prison and avoid going...
CCISCO's insight:

LaVern Vaughn said the Safe Return Project, begun by formerly incarcerated people in Richmond four years ago, provides advocacy and services to people released from prison.  “People get out of jail with a paper bag (of their belongings) and don’t know what to do next. It’s so disheartening to see that,” Vaughn testified.  “The first 72 hours can determine whether they’re going back or not,” said Vaughn, who said released inmates need transitional housing, access to health care and assistance in finding jobs.  “Given the right opportunity and investing in people instead of prison, we can do some really powerful things,” she told the committee.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Sheriff pursues state funding to expand cells and services at West County jail

Sheriff pursues state funding to expand cells and services at West County jail | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
The Contra Costa County Sheriff is pursuing an $80 million state grant that could upgrade the West County Detention Facility. If awarded, Sheriff Dave Livingston plans to increase jail space and re-entry services at the 30-acre site.
CCISCO's insight:

However, some activists are wary about expanding the county jail, and are pushing for more alternatives to incarceration. Many suggest reducing the number of inmates in pre-trial detention. About 85 percent of people held in Contra Costa County jails were awaiting trial in 2012, according to the ACLU.


“If you take those people and give them bail reduction or electronic monitoring, that would clear so many bed spaces that [the Sheriff] wouldn’t even know why he was asking for that money,” said Andres Abarra, a member of the criminal justice research group Safe Returns.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Community Reintegration and Employment in Contra Costa County

CCISCO's insight:

The Safe Return Project in Richmond, California led by formerly incarcerated residents in carrying out research and organizing to increase opportunities for community reintegration – released the report Employment and Community Reintegration in Contra Costa County. The publication, produced in collaboration with the Pacific Institute and CCISCO, presents original research, including survey findings that 78% of formerly incarcerated Richmond residents are unemployed, and two out of three have not held a single job since their release.


The research report finds a high level of interest in job training and transitional employment among the formerly incarcerated: while only 30% of respondents said they had participated in a trade or job training program after their release, more than 3 in 4 of those who did not participate were interested in such a program. The financial hardship of unemployment was evident in that more than half of those surveyed stated they had often or sometimes skipped a meal due to difficulties getting food. The majority also reported they had wanted to see a doctor, but did not because of the cost.


On July 30, 2013, the Richmond City Council took an historic step in leveling the playing field for returning citizens in passing an ordinance that expands their “Fairness in Hiring” policy to include all companies doing business with the City of Richmond. A broad cross-section of clergy, formerly incarcerated community leaders from the Safe Return Project, public officials, and business owners held a press conference on the steps of the Richmond City Hall to declare their support for the legislation.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

New laws make criminal pasts off-limits in California city

New laws make criminal pasts off-limits in California city | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
City officials in this San Francisco suburb passed an ordinance this past week prohibiting city contractors from ever inquiring about many job applicants' criminal histories.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Respuesta sobre el futuro de Comunidades Seguras condado de Contra Costa

Respuesta sobre el futuro de Comunidades Seguras condado de Contra Costa | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
Dentro de poco el departamento del alguacil dejara de honrar (bajo cierta) discreción las peticiones de detención de ICE para ciertos inmigrantes.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Richmond mayor honors local groups with Martin Luther King award for work redirecting funds from jails to rehabilitation programs

Richmond mayor honors local groups with Martin Luther King award for work redirecting funds from jails to rehabilitation programs | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin presented five community groups with the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr.
CCISCO's insight:

"Mayor Gayle McLaughlin this week presented five community groups with the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Richmond Community Leadership and Service Award for their work on behalf of immigrants and parolees.

"When people serve their time and return to the community, they deserve a second chance," said McLaughlin, who introduced the annual civic award in 2007. The five groups honored Tuesday were the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, the Safe Return Project, the Re-entry Solutions Group, the Secure Communities Task Force and the Richmond Progressive Alliance. The awards were earned for the groups' work "mobilizing to oppose jail expansion and unnecessary detention of immigrants, advocating that public funds be redirected to support critical re-entry services for those returning to our communities, and supporting safe and welcoming communities for all," according to the city proclamation. "There's nothing great that we can't accomplish if we don't mind who gets the credit," said the Rev. Alvin Bernstine, one of the honorees. More than 30 people joined McLaughlin in front of the council dais to receive the award.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

San Ramon Express : Supes approve budget allocating state realignment funding

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $20.7 million budget to support state inmates re-routed to county jails under California's realignment plan.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Contra Costa Community Celebrates Historic Vote to Invest in People and Alternatives to Incarceration

Contra Costa Community Celebrates Historic Vote to Invest in People and Alternatives to Incarceration | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
CCISCO's insight:

The Contra Costa Community Corrections Partnership approved $5.2 million that will be invested in community partnerships to develop programs for prisoners in jail and those coming home, including peer mentoring, several one-stop information centers and a pretrial partnership between service providers and the probation department to lower the number of prisoners who are in jail but have yet to be sentenced.

 

"I'm juiced," said Johnny Perez, the youngest member of the Safe Return Project, which has been involved in the discussions surrounding realignment in Contra Costa County for more than a year now. Throughout this process, both the community and the county have repeatedly said they want to see the jails become less crowded and lower recidivism rates.

 

"We should all be very happy for what we've done," said Reverend Charles Newsome of CCISCO and the Safe Return Project 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Once behind bars, group advocates for prisoners coming home

Once behind bars, group advocates for prisoners coming home | Invest in People, Not Prisons! | Scoop.it
When the door opened at West County Detention Facility for Tamisha Walker, it was dark. After six months in jail, Walker was free. But she was alone. No one was there to pick her up. All she had was a bus ticket and a bag.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by CCISCO
Scoop.it!

Sheriff Withdraws Jail Expansion Plan

Opponents of a controversial plan to expand jails in Contra Costa County are celebrating a victory, after County Sheriff David Livingston backed off his plan to build 150 new jail beds. The jail expansion plan was opposed by many activists who want money to go to services for former offenders returning to the community, instead of to county jails. They say the jails should free non-violent inmates awaiting trial and undocumented immigrants held on behalf of the Federal “Immigration and Customs Enforcement” agency. They want the county to spend more on services, investing, in their words, in “people not prisons.”

more...
No comment yet.