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Proposition 47 Savings: Reinvest in California’s Communities

Proposition 47 and the Second Chance Program (Assembly Bill 1056) present an opportunity to break the cycle of jail expansion and reduce California’s reliance on incarceration.

Source: www.cavotes.org

Voted into law by about 60 percent of California’s electorate, Proposition 47 changed certain non-serious, nonviolent felonies into misdemeanors. This shortened sentences for many incarcerated people, which reduced the state’s prison population and generated cost-savings.

According to the proposition, 65 percent of these state savings are delegated to fund recidivism reduction programs, like substance abuse and mental health treatment. AB 1056, adopted in 2015, clarifies how this funding process can best improve public safety.

Proposition 47 assigns responsibility for allocating this funding to a state agency called Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC). Based on a competitive proposal process, the BSCC will decide which public agencies will receive funding for recidivism reduction programming.

In recent years, the BSCC’s decision-making process has not been inclusive of those communities most impacted by their policies. However, the agency will be hosting four community meetings throughout the state so that Californians may voice their opinions about how Proposition 47 funding should be used. Here is some helpful background information on the BSCC, and what community groups should be monitoring.


Jail Expansion

In the past, the BSCC has prioritized funding to projects that expand jails and systemic capacity, rather than investing in the community-based alternatives. Since 2007, the BSCC has distributed approximately $2.2 billion for jail construction projects.

Recently, California has allocated funding to increase programming space in jails. However, rather than prioritizing projects that provide alternatives to incarceration and reduce jail populations, like day reporting centers, the BSCC has almost exclusively funded secure facility construction.

Talking point: Proposition 47 savings are eligible to fund community-based programs in partnership with a public agency. This could be drug treatment programs, transitional housing, employment training, or mental health services. Given the BSCC’s prior funding of facilities, the BSCC should prioritize supporting community-based organizations outside of jails. Not only is programming in jails less effective, but improving public safety means providing care and services for people before they enter the justice system.


Executive Steering Committees

The BSCC will have a subcommittee to which counties should receive Proposition 47 funding. These subcommittees are called executive steering committees, or “ESCs”. The BSCC has historically appointed law enforcement and justice system officials, like sheriffs, probation officers, and CDCR employees, to these ESCs, creating a bias away from community-based programs.

Note: Teal represents probation officers, CDCR officials and law enforcement.

Talking point: The Proposition 47 ESC must represent those communities most affected by the criminal justice system; This includes advocates, community leaders, formerly incarcerated people, mental health experts, and researchers who have expertise in the field of criminal justice reform.

While Proposition 47 funding is not intended for jail construction projects, diverse ESC membership from criminal and juvenile justice stakeholders will ensure that quality community programming is funded.

If community leaders are interested in serving on the Proposition 47 ESC, applications are being accepted until February 29, 2016. Visit this page to apply.


Transparency

Throughout previous funding processes, the BSCC has failed to make crucial documents accessible in time for meaningful community review and public comment. This limits those most affected by the BSCC’s policies from key decision-making opportunities 

Talking Point: Once the Proposition 47 ESC has been formed in April 2016, its members and the BSCC must devise a community-inclusive process involving feedback sessions with key stakeholders, including family members of formerly or currently incarcerated individuals, community-based service providers, and others. The BSCC must make material available for community review, such as the draft Request for Proposal (RFP), and is obligated as a public agency to allow ample time for advocates and policy organizations to respond to that material. 

The BSCC is hosting a series of community meetings regarding Proposition 47 in southern California. More information on the events nearest you below.

January 2016

 Monday          25 

 Tuesday             26 

 Wednesday           27 

 Thursday                28 

 

 Sisk Courthouse
 1130 O Street 
 Fresno, CA 93721

 

 East Valley Water 
 District Board Room
 31111 Greenspot Rd. 
 Highland, CA 92346

 

 County of Los Angeles 
 Board of Supervisors 
 Hall of Administration
 500 Temple Street 
 Los Angeles, CA 90012
 
 San Diego Hall of Justice

 330 West Broadway 

 San Diego, CA 92101


For questions or media inquiries, please contact cjcjmedia@cjcj.org, (415) 621-5661 x. 121, or visit www.cjcj.org

More resources:

Ella Baker's Center for Human Rights: Heal Don't Hurt 

Video: BSCC's first community meeting in Oakland, CA

BSCC's Prop. 47 FAQs

Keywords: adult corrections, BSCC, community-based organizations, Community-Based Services, Erica Webster, jail construction funding, Juvenile justice, proposition 47

Posted in Blog, Correctional Institutions

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