The Care First mission

is to make comprehensive changes to the criminal legal system that reduce
the policing and incarceration of our communities and promote systems of support for all people. We will do this by

reducing the power of carceral systems

and passing equitable pretrial legislation.

Angelique Evans of Young Womens Freedom Center

Californians Deserve
a Care First Future

That means care and support for everyone. It means divesting dollars from law enforcement agencies and reinvesting them in effective community-based services. It means communities will be entrusted with addressing issues such as health and mental health care, job training and placement, pretrial, diversion, and reentry services, housing, and other support that helps our community members meet their basic needs, so they can thrive and grow rather than relying on imprisoning and punishing people who are in need of support. For our community members who currently work in law enforcement and in the Prison Industrial Complex, it means services, support, and incentives for job retraining and placement. We want care for you, too – making a living wage in jobs that create healthy communities.

Learn more about our Care First partners, advocacy work, and culture:

How do Care First policies affect me?

I'm a community member

I’m concerned about the many public health crises our State is facing, such as houselessness, mass incarceration, and systemic racism. 

You have a huge stake in the work we’re doing. Whether you or your loved ones have been impacted by California’s bloated carceral system, or you simply care about the moral, social, environmental, and economic ramifications of continuing California’s legacy of mass incarceration, racial inequity, and law enforcement abuse — Care First policies will move California into a future that sees our communities healed, restored, and thriving. 

 

Data & Context

"Directly impacted communities led efforts to create new parole opportunities for people sentenced when they were youth, repealed and reformed numerous sentence enhancements, and created avenues for resentencing large numbers of incarcerated people.

"Despite this consistent pressure from California voters, bad system actors would rather build cages instead of schools; hire prison guards instead of health care workers; and use punishment systems steeped in racial injustice instead of investing in community-based systems of care. California’s 30-year policy of prison expansion–while millions of residents struggle for basic needs–is inexorably tied to our state’s current social and fiscal instability, wasting much needed resources on a system of unprecedented injustice."

- The People's Plan for Prison Closure

Prisons are a Public Health Disaster

High Desert State Prison (HDSP) provides tap water that contains levels of arsenic 2,264 times higher than what is considered to be safe for human health.

The average age of a person sentenced to life without parole is 19. This country is alone in sentencing youth to life in prison.

Prisons destroy local businesses.

I am an impacted community member

I have been impacted by police violence and the carceral system personally, or through a family member or loved one.  

You’re the reason we fight. Whether you or your loved ones have been impacted by California’s bloated carceral system, or you simply care about the moral, social, environmental, and economic ramifications of continuing California’s legacy of mass incarceration, racial inequity, and law enforcement abuse, Care First policies will move California into a future that sees our communities healed, restored, and thriving. 

Data & Context

Men in state prisons experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
60%

"Prisons are traumatic, unhealthy places that lead to lasting physical and emotional health impacts for incarcerated individuals, their families, and the people that work in these facilities."

- Data from the People's Plan for Prison Closure

I work in law enforcement

I’m concerned that Care First policies mean my workplaces and employers are losing funding and I may lose my source of income. 

Your stake is highly personal. California prisons are toxic to the people in them, both physically and emotionally, and that includes you. From highly toxic facilities, to the health and mental health issues that plague Police, Probation Officers, Prison Guards, and other employees of the Prison Industrial Complex, your livelihood risks your life in more ways than you might think. 

Our vision leaves no one behind, which is why we’re working toward Care First policies with a Just Transition in mind. A Just Transition will ensure that you have the financial and educational opportunities to make your transition from working within oppressive systems, into good-paying, stable jobs that support you and your family, and restore our communities.  

Data & Context

"While local economic concerns about prison closure will doubtlessly be raised, it is important to keep these realities in mind. By closing prisons, California not only has the opportunity to right the wrongs of reliance on cages, it also has the chance to reinvest in communities in creative and generative ways, creating connections to job development that support community reinvestment. Far from hurting local economies, closing prisons presents an opportunity to transform them for the better."

- The People's Plan for Prison Closure
CDCR employees are 33% more likely* to die by suicide
33%
CDCR employees are 50% more likely to develop diabetes & heart disease
50%
60% of CDCR employees experience symptoms of PTSD
60%

*more likely than the general population

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