Critical Resistance and Education Not Incarceration are 2 groups that are doing excellent work linking the struggles for educational equity with the horrendous rise of the prison industry or the prison industrial complex, as some call it, in CA and throughout the country.
This op-ed from the San Francisco Chronicle was actually the work of Critical Resistance.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE OPEN FORUM
Why open prisons and close schools?
Eric Mar, Dawn Ligaya Williams
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
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Without a ribbon-cutting ceremony, inspiring speeches or champagne toasts, today marks one of the most controversial opening days for any state project in the last 25 years. Today, the notorious Delano II prison, a $750 million gift from the state to the prison guards' union, will open.
As California unwraps its 33rd state prison -- what the Los Angeles Times called perhaps "the most controversial prison project in California history" -- we are simultaneously being forced to close schools, libraries and hospitals. Where are our priorities?
Several statewide polls of likely voters have all found the same thing: Californians consistently identify prison spending as the budget item they most want cut in this time of crisis.
Other states nationwide have decided to close prisons. But in California -- where we imprison more people than any other state except Texas, according to the federal Bureau of Justice statistics -- the Department of Corrections will spend an additional $100 million per year, every year, to operate a new prison that Californians don't need, can't afford and don't want.
Meanwhile, Education Week ranked California 44th in the nation in per- pupil spending -- more than $600 per student below the national average. Study after study shows that investing in education pays huge dividends over paying to imprison. So why do our schools suffer billions in underfunding, while prison spending swells to rival the percentage of our state budget spent on higher education?
Underfunding education means schools are closing, class sizes are increasing, teachers and support staff are being laid off, basic supplies and books are lacking, extracurricular activities are no longer affordable and after-school programs have been drastically reduced.
Click here for the full article
More info on Critical Resistance and Education Not Incarceration, etc.:
This is a great piece by Angela Davis on Racism and Prisons from Colorlines Magazine