Sin Barras, a community-based group that works to build coalitions to eradicate the prison industrial-complex, held a rally and march on Saturday, April 6, 2013, starting at the clock tower in downtown Santa Cruz. Sin Barras demands that, “Santa Cruz County officials provide real healthcare within the county jail, eliminate pretrial detention, and reallocate jail funding to create drug treatment centers and welfare programs outside of Santa Cruz County Jail.”
Since August 2012, at least four people have died inside the Santa Cruz County Jail from lack of medical care: Christy Sanders, Rick Prichard, Brant Monnet, and Bradley Gordon Dreher. In July 2012, the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors voted to outsource county jail medical care to Monterey-based California Forensic Medical Group. CFMG provides services for 25 California counties and has an extensive history of lawsuits against them related to inadequate care, inmate abuse, and neglect.
Critical Resistance, an Oakland-based national organization dedicated to opposing the expansion of the prison industrial complex, defines the prison industrial complex (PIC) as the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.
Through its reach and impact, the PIC helps and maintains the authority of people who get their power through racial, economic and other privileges. There are many ways this power is collected and maintained through the PIC, including creating mass media images that keep alive stereotypes of people of color, poor people, queer people, immigrants, youth, and other oppressed communities as criminal, delinquent, or deviant.
This power is also maintained by earning huge profits for private companies that deal with prisons and police forces; helping earn political gains for “tough on crime” politicians; increasing the influence of prison guard and police unions; and eliminating social and political dissent by oppressed communities that make demands for self-determination and reorganization of power in the US.