FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—August 29, 2013
San Francisco Leaders Rally to Stop Proposed Jail
When: Thursday, August 29th, 12pm
Where: San Francisco Public Library, Latino/Hispanic Room
Contact: Misty Rojo, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, 510-506-0978
San Francisco—Community leaders with gather at the Community Corrections Partnership this Thursday to voice opposition to Sheriff Mirkarimi’s plan to build a new jail that may cost up to $465 million. They will ask the CCP to reject Sheriff Mirkarimi’s request for a letter of support to seek $80 million in funding from the Board of State and Community Corrections. Advocates say that the Sheriff can safely close the seismically unsafe Hall of Justice without building a new jail by implementing simple reforms.
“I work regularly with people who cycle in and out of San Francisco’s jail, and it is clear that they need more access to social programs and support, not jail time” says Andrea Salinas, a social worker and a member of Critical Resistance. “We need to close the Hall of Justice immediately, reduce the prison population and use the city’s resources to support the well-being of our most vulnerable residents.”
San Francisco jails have been at about 65% of capacity for almost two years, with approximately 900 empty jail beds county jails every single day. Nearly 75% of the people housed in the San Francisco jail are awaiting trial and there is currently a proposal to expand pre-trial release by up to 500 people, which would create room for the county to close the jails above the Hall of Justice without re-opening unused county jail space.
“There’s no such thing as a safe jail”, says Samantha Rogers, a former prisoner and an organizer with California Coalition for Women Prisoners. “We need to talk about making San Francisco safer for a Black population who only seems to be welcome if they are occupying jail cells.” While San Francisco’s African American population has dwindled to six percent, 56% of the jail population is Black.
“San Francisco has made a commitment to ending homelessness. Spending over $400 million on building a new jail is making a plan to house people in cages instead of affordable housing and sucking resources from real solutions” says Lisa Marie Alatorre, organizer with Coalition on Homelessness. San Francisco has 5,000 homeless residents.