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Green Party of California denounces prison expansion; Urges state officials to seek comprehensive reform instead

GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA NEWS RELEASE

SACRAMENTO (June 21, 2007) - The Green Party of California (GPCA) this week denounced the prison expansion plan embraced by GOP Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Democratic Party-controlled Legislature, charging that real reform of the criminal justice system is what is needed.

"Republicans and Democrats alike are seeking to spend billions of dollars building more prisons when they should be pursuing comprehensive change," said Erika McDonald, a San Francisco Green Party spokesperson.

"We urge the Governor and the California Legislature to examine the real issues behind prison overcrowding, look closely at our failed system of justice and seek effective reform," said McDonald.

The GPCA notes in its platform that "Our criminal justice system is inhumane, ineffective and prohibitively expensive," contending that prisons should be the sentence of last resort, reserved for violent criminals and those convicted of non-violent offenses should be handled by other programs that serve the interests of justice but reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses.

No amount of prison construction will solve the overcrowding problem, claim Greens, who propose alternatives such as improved rehabilitation and re-entry programs, parole reform and sentencing reform.

"Substance abuse should be addressed as a medical problem requiring treatment, not imprisonment, and a failed drug test should not result in revocation of parole," said McDonald, who notes that many inmates have drug convictions on their records.

The GPCA also supports amending California's onerous three strikes law, noting that it should only be applied when the third offense is a serious or violent felony.

-30-

Contacts:
Crescenzo Vellucci, State Press Office, 916.996.9170,
Sara Amir (Los Angeles), 310.270.7106,
Dr. Bob Vizzard (Sacramento), 916.206.8953,
Daniel Brezenoff (Southern California), 310.422.2211,
Susan King (San Francisco), 415.823.5524,

The Green Party of California
PO Box 2828
Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437
Web: http://www.cagreens.org
EMail:

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