The recent State budget cuts due to the Coronavirus that we knew were coming are worse than we thought. While people are so stretched thin right now, we see the budget cuts as not only asking loved ones inside to stretch further, wait longer – but to bear the costs of the overall incompetent response to the crisis on the part of CDCR.
You can see the budget, especially the part on CDCR, prisons, and re-entry in the Public Safety section here. (Click on the Public Safety Icon and the budget will download as a PDF.)
What does this mean? What threats to health and safety have already existed, that will become even worse now with the budget cuts, and further exacerbated when people start getting processed in to CDCR from counties again, scheduled for the end of May?
We have already gotten reports that food quality was going down, portions were smaller. But this means families will likely be spending even more to put money for store. Who does that money go to: the corporations only get a fraction because we know those are canteen prices are gouged even though they keep getting away with it.
We already know that program has been cut because they keep putting our loved ones on lockdown. Now any hopeful programs also will not be enacted:
Other cuts that will happen are summarized here:
- Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolees and Outpatient Clinics are being eliminated
- $20.6 Million being cut from CDCR’s baseline budget, including Tattoo Program
However the State is trying to save money here:
- Federal funds will be used for Health Care for Community Re-entry programs
- Fire Camp consolidation
Despite all this something is still very out of balance. For example, the Prison Industry Authority was reported to be selling masks for $3.10 but the state is buying them from China for 55 cents. Why pay to keep the prison open, make prisoners make the masks, but then turn around and try to save money by buying cheaper masks? Why not release people on a work program, pay them a living wage. The state will save money as opposed to spending it to keep people in prison.
With family love we can make it through any type of crisis. We have already been living through the crisis of the prison system. CDCR and the California government need to allocate funds to emergency clemency and early parole NOW and subsidize housing and food, so we can get through this global crisis with the love and support of families.