PICO California faith leaders advocate for a social contract with Governor Brown

September 25, 2013

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 

CONTACT: Trineka Greer, PICO California Communications Director, 916.813.9428 

PICO California faith leaders advocate for a social contract with Governor Brown to reduce prison overcrowding and invest in opportunities for returning citizens
Signing AB 218 an important next step

September 25, 2013 - Three federal judges granted California's request for yet-another extension to comply with the Federal Court order to reduce unconstitutional and inhumane prison overcrowding by Jan. 27, 2013.  With the extension, much needed discussions can continue on systemic solutions to reducing prison overcrowding, including targeted resources and policies that invest in people and not prisons, such as AB 218, a bill currently awaiting the Governor’s signature, which opens job opportunities for qualified Californians and promotes public safety by reducing unnecessary barriers for the nearly 7 million adult Californians with a criminal record.  Other strategies include early release options for the elderly, inmates with mental health and medical issues, California's three-strike laws, juvenile offender sentences, and federal immigration holds.

Speaking at a press conference today, Reverend Michael McBride, Director of PICO's Urban Strategies and Lifelines to Healing Campaign, stated, “We find it morally reprehensible that the Governor and state legislature are participating with the private prison industry. Just this week, in fact, our Governor signed another private prison contract with the GEO Group. The ruling today grants the state a reprieve that allows us an opportunity to do the right thing.  In fact, there are steps we can take today, like the “Ban the Box” bill, AB 218, which will reduce recidivism by providing employment opportunities and in the long-term address prison overcrowding. We are calling on Governor Brown to stop entering into new private prison contracts and instead sign his name to a social contract that will welcome our loved ones and family members back home and provide them access to vital services that will help them transition outside of prison with greater success.”

As a multi-faith organization, PICO California rallies against any policies that separates families and devastate communities.  We are committed to connecting communities of color in solidarity across the common struggle of obtaining and maintaining full and enfranchised citizenship. PICO California organizes local communities to stop neighborhood violence and promotes policies that will end the mass incarceration.  Through its Campaign for Citizenship, Lifelines to Healing campaign, and other campaigns for education and healthcare, PICO California brings the voices and concerns of Californians to the statewide policy arena.



PICO California is a statewide faith-based organizing effort of nineteen local PICO federations that organize in more than 70 cities, 35 school districts, and in more than one-half of the state's Senate and Assembly districts, reaching from San Diego to Placer County. Together, PICO federations represent and unite over 450,000 families and 480 member congregations of diverse economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds throughout the state. PICO California works to engage grassroots volunteers in our member congregations in efforts to improve policies affecting low income and working families around the state. PICO California is part of the PICO National Network, which includes organizations in 16 states. The PICO National Network Lifelines to Healing Campaign is a comprehensive multi-racial and multi-faith violence prevention and mass incarceration initiative led by hundreds of faith congregations throughout the United States.   For more information, please visit or

PICO California and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office.