another report on CA prison overcrowding was just released - this one by the nytimes. most studies have focused on how prison overcrowding is suddenly an important issue because of the state's epic budget crisis. some more interesting facts: CA spends 11% of the state budget ($8 billion) on prison industrial complex. there are currently 167,000 prisoners in CA. to me, the most interesting part of this study revolves around CA's insanely high recidivism rate (that means being returned to prison after first time offense): 70 PERCENT. the highest in the nation. uh yea.
"California is the only state that places all prisoners on parole at release, no matter the offense ... usually for one to three years. If a parolee is arrested or fails a drug test or misses an appointment with a parole officer, the offender lands back in prison."
AND SO ON...
this debate is particularly relevant for the trans movement because a large portion of our community struggle daily with the interconnected forces of poverty, transphobia, criminalization of sex work, and so on. particularly so for undocumented folks. it's an endless chain or downward spiral however you wanna call it - and all the more within the context of CA recidivism rates...
as a side note - in Los Angeles, if you get picked up for solicitation and you have more than 4 condoms on you, it can be used against you as evidence that you are prostituting.
Alexis Giraldo's life story is a case and point. the first time Alexis went to jail was for stealing beer from a convenience store when she was a teenager. repeated brushes with the law over the years combined with the fact that she was constantly having to break the law because she is poor and trans, snowballed until one day she got arrested for a misdemeanor & parole violation. the judge sentenced her to federal prison and she ended up in Folsom State mens prison, where her cellmate repeatedly raped and abused her for 6 months. Alexis has been trying to sue the CDCR for several years, and currently her case is waiting to be heard in the 9th circuit of appeals. the state keeps postponing. in december she was arrested again for parole violation - so she's currently waiting out her time in jail. i'm having to gloss over a lot of detailz here, but in a nutshell the system is fucked. and i believe the trans movement shares a lot of demands with the prison abolition mvment. just sayin'
(ps google her she's like totally brilliant and famous hero etc!)
i think i posted this video on class b4 but without PIC critique so here it is again... keeps comin around
OH! and i guess they're trying to change the laws so that they don't send EVERYONE back on parole violations. that's the conclusion of the article. read it