Community Organizations Fight to be Heard in LA Jail Expansion Debate

Media Alert – 7/12/12

Press Contact:
Mary Sutton, 310-709-8602

Los Angeles – In a letter sent this morning to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, local community groups pushed to have their demands on realignment and their opposition to the counties proposed jail expansion plans discussed at next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Residents from around the county have voiced strong opposition to the counties jail expansion plans, citing the county’s budget crisis and a need to reduce the current jail population.  Alternative proposals to the counties jail expansion plans offered by local residents include investing realignment dollars in strengthening re-entry practices, funding effective services, and offering treatment, housing, education, and job support to former prisoners.

Community groups will hold a rally and press conference at 500 West Temple Street, prior to Tuesday’s July 17th’s Board of Supervisors meeting at 9:30am.

July 12, 2012

County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors

Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration

500 West Temple Street, Los Angeles CA

Dear L.A. County Board of Supervisors,

Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), the L.A. Reintegration Campaign and allied partners urgently request your attention to our ongoing recommendations on critical decisions that are now before the public and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in regards to AB900, jail expansion, and AB109, realignment. We are attaching the letter sent to you and your staff on two previous occasions—for your reference. CURB’s ongoing demands encompass these recommendations:

  • No Prison or Jail Expansion
  • Reduce the population of people locked up in CA state prison and County jails.
  • Re- invest dollars saved into services, jobs, and programs that create safer, healthier communities

We also request that the following proposal be placed on the upcoming L.A. Board of Supervisors agenda, July 17, 2012:

Whereas individuals being released under AB109 are not being provided with services, referrals, transportation and housing options—needed for a successful reentry into the community.

As of March 9, 2012, the Probation Department itself reported that they had made only 157 referrals for housing, transportation or job readiness/placement services. This represents only 3% of those coming home under AB109 and under L.A. County supervision.

Whereas L.A. County has not yet enacted the recommendations made by the Vera Institute and the Austin report designed to reduce the jail population.

Whereas L.A. County stakeholders have not effectively integrated Community Based and Faith Based organizations in the realignment implementation plan as approved in the Community Corrections Partnership AB109/117 Implementation Plan, Sept. 2011.

Whereas the report from the L.A. County Probation Department’s report of June 11, 2012 presented to the Board on June 19 did not establish clear performance goals to ensure the broadest, most effective partnership with Community Based Organizations and Faith Based Organizations.

Whereas L.A. County is holding $90 million unspent AB109 dollars at the end of the first year of realignment implementation.

Whereas out of the $124 million for LA County Realignment Implementation no funds have been granted directly to Community Based Organizations yet $56,878,000 is still designated for the Sheriff’s department to create hundreds of new sheriff county staff positions.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors therefore directs that a sufficient amount of funds are diverted from the available realignment dollars to support development of a community advisory committee to plan for implementation of a community- run ”L.A. Re-Entry Network” or “Re-entry council” and then to implement that plan to ensure that individuals coming home from prison or jail have every chance for success.

(For examples of how this concept is being developed by public and private entities in other jurisdictions see the San Francisco Reentry Council www.sfreentry.com and the Pasadena/Altadena Reintegration Council http://www.flintridge.org/collaborations/reintegration.htm)

CURB member organizations and allies agree to assist with the research and outreach necessary to bring together community organizations and leaders who are committed to reducing the 65% recidivism rate currently reported for state prisoners, reducing the jail population, preventing costly and unnecessary jail expansion, and providing support resources so that individual returning to their home can become assets to their communities and families.

Sincerely,

Californians United for a Responsible Budget  and L.A. Community Partners.

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