One thing we want to do better this year is to share good news when we
have it. Just this month, CR helped lead the way to four
significant victories against the prison industrial complex that we
want to make sure you know about, and know how to support.
From prison construction to youth curfews, we know that we have to
continue squeezing the PIC from every direction we can. If you
have an hour, a dollar, an idea, or a question, please share it with
CR's work to stop new prison construction helps compel
historic prisoner release order!
For nearly a decade, Critical Resistance has prioritized stopping new
prison construction. We know that if you build them; you fill them.
In early February, a federal court ruled that overcrowding was the
primary cause of unconstitutional medical and mental health care for
people in California prisons, causing needless deaths every
week. The Court ordered what we have been arguing for years
is the only real solution: reducing the number of people in
Our role in stopping new prison construction helped lead the court to
reject the state's position that it would build its way out of
overcrowding, declaring that "there is no relief other than a
prisoner-release order that will remedy the unconstitutional prison
conditions." Noting that no new beds had been built, instead of
building, the Court's order could reduce the number of people in prison
by up to 56,000.
That's not to say this fight is over. We need to work harder than
ever in the coming weeks and months to make sure that the state sends
our people home, doesn't drag its feet, waste time with endless
appeals, or, worst of all, proceed with prison construction to try to avoid
sending people home or sending fewer people home.
It is more important than ever that we stop AB 900, California's
massive prison construction plan. This is a huge win and a huge
opportunity, and we can't miss it.
CR Oakland helps defeat proposed youth curfew following
the police execution of Oscar Grant.
On February 10, CR Oakland helped mobilize over 100 people to defeat a
frightening proposal for a youth curfew in Oakland. The proposal came
on the heels of mass arrests during the protests of the videotaped
execution of Oscar Grant by police.
The ordinance would also make it a misdemeanor for a parent to allow a
young person to violate the ordinance, and even expose business owners
to prosecution if they knowingly allow youth on their premises during
"After what happened to Oscar Grant and many other youth killed by
the police, how could we consider giving police yet another opportunity
for racial profiling. Who will Oakland police stop at 10 p.m.? What
neighborhoods will see a lockdown from 10 p.m. to 5 a. m.?," said
CR member Ritika Aggarwal, 24.
Drop the Charges
Since Oscar Grant's murder, CR has also worked hard to make sure that
our ability to protest and organize out of this tragedy isn't shut down
by the police and city officials. Since early January, we have worked
to defend every single one of the more than 130 people arrested
protesting Oscar Grant's murder; to make sure that youth of color
aren't further criminalized protesting police violence, and to make
sure that the focus stays where it should be: on the real effects of
policing, whether they're caught on tape or not.
Working with the National Lawyers Guild and the Oakland 100 Committee,
we have organized a call-in campaign and court solidarity for every
arraignment. From more than 130, there are now only 4 people
facing charges. Over the next few weeks, we'll be back to stay
with those final defendants until every case is dismissed.
No Jail in the Bronx or in Brooklyn
Finally, this month saw the Brooklyn House of Detention Coalition
(BHOD) block plans to expand the Brooklyn House of Detention.
CR-NYC played a big support role in this victory, sharing the
strategies we used to stop jail construction in the Bronx with our
neighbors. This marks the second victory in two years for
the City's plan to build a new jail in every borough, and shows just
how far we have come in the fight against endless cage building.
THIS WORK IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
IN 2009. Please, take a moment to help us - and yourself - in two
1. Get Involved! There is nothing more important to CR than our
volunteer power. No matter where you live or what you like to do, we
need your help. Find us at 510 444 0484, or email
2. Donate! Not in spite of but because of how bad the
economy is, we need to pull our resources together more than ever. Please click here to give a
gift that doesn't hurt your bank account, but does help us all -