Gov. Newsom’s destructive prison shutdown with ICE reuse plan
In October 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 32 into law, to phase out the use of private prisons. On January 1, 2020, AB 32, became law and eliminated all contracts with private or for-profit prisons in the state, California Globe reported in March.
Bill analysis describes the real intent of AB 32: “This bill abolishes, in line with California’s interest in ensuring the safety and welfare of its residents, the private for-profit prison industry from our state in order to protect incarcerated individuals from serious harm within our state border.”
All four ICE detention centers in California would also close. This was added as an amendment to AB 32, along with phasing out all private prisons in California by 2028. The push to close the facilities is coming from the ACLU, and fringe radical groups Kern Youth Abolitionists, and California Immigrant Youth.
Besides thousands of high-paying jobs lost in the cities of Adelanto and McFarland – mostly held by Latino and African American employees – in cities with little to no other industry, the problem with AB 32, authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Contra Costa), is multi-faceted. Private prisons, while a for-profit business, still cost less per prisoner than California’s state owned prisons.
The change could cost California more than $100 million a year, according to the 08/12/19- Senate Appropriations committee analysis, at a time when the governor is looking at a $55 billion deficit for putting California on lockdown.
The average cost per inmate in a California state prison is $84,848, while the contract rate varies per facility but averages around $26,600 per person for the men’s contract facilities and is $35,232 per inmate at the women’s contract facility, according to bill analysis.
The situation is complicated as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and private prison contractor GEO signed 15-year contracts for the company’s detention centers in the Mojave Desert and Central Valley in late December, effectively skirting the new law to phase out private prisons and detention centers, the Desert Sun reported.
Both Adelanto and McFarland are considering the ICE reuse proposals to convert the prisons for use by the federal government. “Their respective planning commissions are considering proposals later this month, while full council votes are expected in March. If they are defeated, the revenue hit could be so devastating that it causes one or both to de-incorporate as cities, since there is no known way to replace the money,” the Media Equalizer reported in February.
Since we addressed this issue in March, McFarland passed the motion on an unanimous vote and ICE will be moving in shortly.
However, in Adelanto, an ACLU-connected council member pretended her phone wasn’t working, causing the city council to not have a quorum at a meeting vote. Sources noted her phone worked fine before and after when talking to the media and during earlier closed session. So the vote was been delayed until the May meeting, which has been pushed up to this week.
The Adelanto City Council wasn’t expected to vote on this until the end of May. It appears somebody got nervous and moved it forward.
The ACLU is directly involved in thwarting ICE in Adelanto, and appears doubly concerned now that they failed to stop the McFarland prison conversion.
Sources are now saying that it looks as if Adelanto City Councilwoman Stevevonna Evans will pull this same stunt over and over until the council vote is over and they can get the mob of protesters back in front of city hall.
This likely will cause the city to disincorporate and/or dissolve into the county if this doesn’t pass soon. And layoffs already been announced by the city.
The radical groups opposing the prison conversions, CA Immigrant Youth and Kern Youth Abolitionists, are stalking prison officials, even the warden and conservative activists, in the Bakersfield area.
The Kern Youth Abolitionists say on their Twitter page, “We call ourselves abolitionists b/c we want to abolish every single morbid & repulsive symptom that is caused by capitalism.”