Senator Becker’s BASIC Act Receives Approval from Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 474 (The BASIC Act) would reduce the markup of products sold at prison canteens, which can exceed 63% to 200% above market value

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, the California State Assembly Appropriations Committee voted in support of Senate Bill No. 474 by Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo). Also known as The BASIC Act, this bill creates a tiered reduction in the markups on items sold in prison canteen stores to no more than 10% above the price paid to the vendor. The current canteen markup hovers around 65% and can reach as much as 200%, making many essential food and hygiene items completely out of reach, further increasing the economic burden of incarceration on families. Recent price lists have demonstrated that prices increased at least three times this year in some facilities, with toothpaste now sold for $6, coffee for $9.05, and toilet paper for $1 per roll. This is a more than 200% increase above what the average consumer would pay for these items.
"It is no secret that our incarcerated Californians are among the state's most vulnerable populations,” said Senator Becker. “We all know that the burdens of incarceration are not just on the financial health and the physical wellbeing of the incarcerated, but on the families, as well. The BASIC Act will address this injustice"

SB 474 has received strong support throughout the legislative process and now heads to the Assembly Floor for a vote and must be passed by September 14.