California's budget crisis means the state will lean heavily on local organizations to provide services to the 35,000 prisoners who will be released by next year, a top state prisons staffer said Friday at a Modesto Junior College forum.
Brett Morgan, chief of staff for state prisons chief Matthew Cate, said California doesn't have money to spend on the inmates once they're released.
"They're not going to get services," Morgan said after his speech to an audience of about 100 people.
It was a blunt message at the California Black-Brown Summit on Re-Entry, where civil rights leaders convened to discuss ways to help inmates readjust to society after they leave prison.
Cate, the scheduled keynote speaker, canceled his appearance to conduct media interviews after a scathing report released this week cited missed chances to catch Phillip Garrido, the suspect accused of holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years in Contra Costa County.
The summit on re-entry featured speakers and workshops on housing, social services, substance abuse and the transition from incarceration into the community.
Wendy Byrd, MJC's director of student development and campus life, said the inmates coming home are parents, brothers and sisters who need support and opportu- nity to succeed.
"This is everybody's problem," Byrd said.
More than two-thirds of the national prison population is black or Latino, putting an increased burden on the minority community.
"Something's wrong with this system," said Rosa Rosal- es, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. "We have to socialize these prisoners who have already paid the price. We need to make sure society is saying, 'Welcome home.' "
Today is the final day of the NAACP Black-Brown Summit, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Modesto Junior College West Campus. For more information, go to www.bbsummit.org.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2337.