Coalition: Prison expansion not the answer

SAN DIEGO - Several groups came together Saturday morning to ask California legislators not to move forward with prison expansion plans, but instead to implement sentencing and parole reforms to ease prison overcrowding.

The San Diego Anti Prison Coalition rallied at the Richard Donavan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa. The coalition chose to demonstrate there because the California Department of Corrections is planning to build a new 792-bed prison for those with disabilities next door to the facility.

"We're opposed to this because we know there are sentencing and parole reforms that don't involve lockup and don't involve constructing another prison," said Diana Zuñiga with Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), one of the coalition member groups.

The expansion unit would cost an estimated $168 million, according to CURB.

"Expanding this prison is a bad idea because we are actually under a court order to reduce the prison population,” Zuñiga said. “Instead of implementing the alternatives to incarceration such as elder prisoner parole, expanding good time credit, expanding medical parole and expanding the alternative custody program, the state is more interested in constructing more cells for people."

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