Families of Incarcerated Youth Join Educators Calling for an Investment in Books, Not Bars

Families Join Statewide Coalition of Education, Labor and Community Groups May 10 in conjunction with week-long actions to Pressure Lawmakers

For Immediate Release:  5/5, 2011
Contact: Abel Habtegeorgis
Media Relations Manager
(510) 428-3939 x232

Sacramento,CA – Families of incarcerated youth with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights join educators at the State of Emergency Action May 10th, 2011 at 9:30 am on the south steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento, CA. The action is part of a statewide call for lawmakers to reverse the trade off between schools and jails by prioritizing our investment in opportunities for youth.

The Ella Baker Center has launched an online petition asking the Governor to close California's youth prisons and save the state almost $300 million a year. More information about the petition found @ www.ellabakercenter.org.

WHAT: State of Emergency Action
WHO: Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, California Teachers Association
WHEN: May 10th, 2011 9:30 AM
WHERE: California State Capitol Building, South Steps, Sacramento, California

Families want what’s best for their kids. The members of our Books Not Bars campaign intimately know that the DJJ prisons fail to offer rehabilitation, education, or opportunity to their children. At the same time that our State has spent $215,00 per year to lock up each youth in the DJJ, California schools have been gutted by $20 billion in education funding cuts over the last three years.

“We should not prop up expensive, abusive youth prisons at the same time that we are closing schools and laying off teachers,”said Jakada Imani, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “The DJJ system costs California hundreds of millions of dollars each year and fails to rehabilitate the youth it serves.”

The Sacramento event is part of a statewide “State of Emergency” week of protests and bold actions May 9-13 coordinated by a broad coalition of statewide education, parent, student, labor groups and community groups.


The Ella Baker Center is named for an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders. We build on her legacy by giving people opportunities and skills to work together to strengthen our communities so that all of us can thrive. Our Books Not Bars campaign organizes the largest network of families of incarcerated youth and champions alternatives to California’s costly, broken youth prison system.