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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/28/10

CDCR Builds Million Dollar Prison Gate Fortress in Downtown Sacramento

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Message B. Cayenne Bird
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 At a time when California is struggling with the largest budget crisis in history, there is apparently no shortage of funds available to the California Department of Corrections. A fence which appears to be about 20 feet high now spans both sides of what has been for years an open breeze way separating the two buildings at their headquarters located at 1515 S Street in downtown Sacramento. It has that gray, prison-industrial-complex feel to the unimaginative design of it and couldn't be more of an eyesore.

How much did it cost for all the electronics, the card-readers and the labor to give cards to employees? How much will it cost to maintain it, and what real purpose does it serve? There is little, if any, security at the front desk, so people can still walk right on through. So what was the point? This monstrosity was such a waste of our precious tax dollars at a time when senior citizens are being denied dental work and eyeglasses, not to mention other human services cuts.

The unofficial reports are that the purpose of the fence was to prevent homeless people from asking for things from CDCR employees.  In my humble opinion, the cost of this fence could have gone to our human services budgets to reduce homelessness. What a shame that the money wasn't spent on building a  shelter instead of just shutting them out. Many of the homeless are veterans from the wars, prisoners who committed minor crimes but can't ever find work. Elderly and disabled people, mentally ill and others lead a hard, cruel life on the streets of Sacramento. Too often the homeless are families who have been laid off, or met some unforeseen hardship.  How can this useless fence be more important than their needs?

Is the real reason that CDCR spent what must have cost a million dollars that they are afraid of people who are coming out of prisons after being abused there?

It makes me wonder how many people are denied parole simply because certain employees within the California Department of Corrections are afraid of them, and not because they present a danger to anyone else.

It is not unusual for CDCR to rob our education and human services budgets, but it's amazing that the public missed this until it suddenly sprang up in the heart of downtown Sacramento.  We trust our public servants to do the right thing, then something like blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars happens very quietly. Apparently there is never a budget crisis for the California Department of Corrections which has cut out rehabilitation and education for most inmates.

See the video of it here, please log into You Tube and rate it so that others may know how their tax dollars are being used. This video was produced by citizen activists of United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect in California.



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B. Cayenne Bird is a 45-year veteran op-ed journalist and publisher. A descendant of Mary Todd Lincoln, and General Andrew Porter, she is passionate about human rights and criminal justice issues. A mother and grandmother with advanced degrees in (more...)

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