California Closes Prisons: The long and tumultuous battle to close the prison in 2022 was extended to 2023 as communities that relied on prison funding continued to fight for their own survival.
Despite protests, lobbying, and lawsuits from affected cities, California is moving forward with plans to close a total of four prisons.
The Legislative Analysis Service released a report in February saying the state could close five more locations by 2027 as the inmate population continues to decline.
Gavin Newsom has promised to transform San Quentin State Prison into a “center of innovation focused on education, rehabilitation, and breaking the cycle of crime” to reduce recidivism rates, but he is not sure how that will work. There are still few details about what it will look like.
Attorney General Rob Bonta’s division, which investigates police shootings of unarmed people, has ruled in only 4 out of 44 cases as of November 2023, resulting in fewer people being killed.
California Closes Prisons
The Justice Department admitted it did not record all calls from police departments reporting shootings of unarmed people.
Ron DeSantis arranged flights for two groups of migrants to California, prompting Newsom to call him a “little, pathetic guy” and say California could file kidnapping charges.
Later that summer, a debate over a small bill stalled in a House committee escalated into a three-day frenzy, during which one member reported receiving death threats.
The bill would reclassify human trafficking of minors for commercial sex acts as a “serious crime”, a move that had been proposed and defeated nine times by 2023. Newsom later signed the bill into law.
After years of record deaths at San Diego prisons, a leading lawmaker has proposed placing “jail guards” in every facility in the state. This plan was significantly weakened by opposition from law enforcement.
Instead, the final version of the bill created a new position for the State and Local Corrections Commission to investigate in-custody deaths.
Gavin Newsom’s own enthusiasm for sweeping changes to California’s criminal justice system has waned, criminal justice reform advocates are hoping that he will veto it. Bryce and California City prisons will cease operations as Newsom aims to close more correctional facilities and prisons.
After a year of quietly weakening or repealing two bills that focused on relocating prisons to immigration detention facilities and overhauling the legal system, law enforcement lobbyists have been forced to take action after the George Floyd incident.