This week we’re deeply saddnened to hear that a third person has died in the San Francisco County Jail this year: Alberto Carlos Petrolino died on July 27, following Alvin Haynes in January and David Perry in March.
Petrolino’s death is being ruled as a “suicide” yet the cause of death has yet to be determined. With the recent in-custody deaths of Sandra Bland and Sarah Lee Circle Bear, a Lakota woman in South Dakota, we are connecting the dots across the country, and must redouble our efforts to make our demands heard: No New SF Jail!
We know that jails and prisons are inherently violent places. Black, trans, and women of color face uncertain circumstances once locked up. SF Sheriffs have already proven to be racist and have sexually assaulted people inside.
Petrolino’s recent death is further evidence that we simply do not need a new jail; any expansion of this system clearly means more violence. The solutions are clear: pre-arrest diversion, bail reform, quality affordable mental health services, and housing.
We’ve had three powerful mobilizations in July to pressure on city officials to fund alternatives like mental health care and supportive housing instead. We mobilized dozens of community organizations and residents to speak powerfully about the alternatives to imprisonment we need and demand in SF, persuading Supervisor London Breed to state that she “saw no compelling reason to build a new jail in SF.” We successfully reached Supervisor Jane Kim, who published this compelling SF Chronicle Op Ed the following week. The fight is growing!
This month we are gearing up to engage more people in this fight. Contact the Coalition if you would like to host a presentation, circulate our petition, or have the Coalition table at your community event: firstname.lastname@example.org
We need your help to stop the new jail. We demand that no more people die while in custody. We demand #NoNewSFJail!
Lisa Marie Alatorre
San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness
A member of Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), a CURB member organization.