Billboards outside of nearly every state prison and throughout communities across state, along with food trucks, mobile billboards, and digital video ads, call attention to need for community investments as state struggles with COVID-19, over-incarceration, homelessness, more


October 21, 2020

CONTACT: Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; [email protected]

OAKLAND, Calif. – Today, Californians for Safety and Justice, the lead organizing group of the #ProgressNotPrisons campaign, announced a major bilingual advertising effort to help educate Californians about the effect of excessive prison spending on their communities and encourage them to vote in the 2020 election.

Through billboards, digital advertising, mobile billboards and food trucks, the ad campaign will highlight the $100 billion California spent on prisons in the last 10 years and $50 billion it spends each year on its criminal justice system, while simultaneously denying communities much-needed investment in schools, affordable housing, health care, and more.

The billboards appear outside of nearly all of the state’s prisons, as well as in high-traffic areas of Bakersfield, Fresno, Riverside, Stockton, San Bernardino and San Jose. The billboards seek to call attention to the need for investment in critical community resources, rather than in prisons – something California voters overwhelmingly support. The ad campaign seeks to raise awareness and generate conversation among the public and government officials about how to solve the state’s greatest challenges. 

The billboard design is available here

The digital video advertisement is available here (and in Spanish here).

“The staggering $100 billion California spent on prisons since 2010 has robbed communities of the investments they need to be healthy and safe – the types of investments that can prevent crime in the first place,” said Jay Jordan, Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “We cannot let extreme prison spending continue to eclipse our investments in schools, jobs, housing, healthcare, and other solutions vital to the progress of our communities.”