On Tuesday, May 19, with about 30 minutes notice and virtually no
discussion, the legislative Joint Finance Committee accepted
the Department of Corrections request for an additional $5
million to INCREASE THE PRISON POPULATION by about 500 people in the
next 2 years.
There was no discussion about why the Department
of Corrections refuses to take common sense steps that will reduce
the prison population. There was no discussion of how unsticking the
broken old law parole system could safely release hundreds of
prisoners, how instituting more alternatives to revocation could stop us
from sending thousands of people back to prison who have not committed a
The Joint Finance Committee and the DOC know
very well that it is not necessary to grow the prison population. They
know they could reduce it safely, responsibly and immediately. Though
legislators appeared to listen at hearings, they apparently heard
nothing. And the DOC refuses to even acknowledge our requests to meet.
We need a to respond in ways they cannot continue to ignore! Those who can should plan to meet us at the Capitol at 12 noon next Wednesday, May 27 for a press conference and a still-to-be-determined action. Watch for details.
Whether or not you can join us on Wednesday,
we will need everyone to write letters to the editor, to make phone
calls, and more. Those $5 million are needed for our schools and
universities. They are needed for Treatment Alternatives and
Diversions. They are needed for Transitional Jobs.
This is a moment that calls for an urgent
response. It is time to say enough is enough, and to call our state
officials to act responsibly.
Below is the Legislative Fiscal Bureau paper
upon which Joint Finance based their allocation. Please note that it
does not question WHY they assume there will be more prisoners. And, it
assumes there is no alternative.