FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 9, 2015
Diana Zuniga – (213) 864-8931, Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Mark-Anthony Johnson – (818) 259-1322, Dignity and Power Now
LOS ANGELES – Today, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 in favor of halting the proposed $2 billion jail plan, including a women’s jail and the “Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility” in lieu of an independent analysis of what alternatives to custody exist in Los Angeles County. Californians United for a Responsible Budget supports this motion and all efforts to prioritize alternatives.
“We commend the Supervisors for approving this game changing motion,” said Jayda Rasberry of Dignity and Power Now. “We support Supervisor Kuehl in halting the Sheriff’s $2 billion jail plan. Expanding custody operations in a system where Black and Brown people with mental health conditions are more likely to be targets of sheriff violence undermines the growing momentum for diversion and alternatives to incarceration. The violence of lockup, especially against those with mental health conditions, cannot be fixed by building more. What will keep people safe is diversion from the jails and we are filled with hope by the leadership presented to assess what community based services are available in our community.”
The motion, introduced by Supervisor Kuehl and supported by Supervisors Solis and Ridley-Thomas, was applauded by about 100 community members who came out to oppose the notion that effective mental health treatment can take place in a jail facility.
“We are pleasantly surprised by the move by our Supervisors to halt the entire jail plan, especially the women’s jail,” said Christina Tsao of Critical Resistance LA. “The push to assess the community based services already in place is something long overdue for Angelenos. We hope that we not only assess what is out there, but leave room to envision what services can be expanded in our community instead of more jails. People need quality treatment, supportive housing, employment opportunities and sustained connection with their children in their communities, not another jail.”
Organizations, community members, and formerly incarcerated people pushed for concrete projections and benchmarks on how the District Attorney’s comprehensive diversion plan, split sentencing, risk-based pre-trial release, and proposition 47 will reduce the jail population.
“This is the time to move funding from the proposed jail plan to community based services that need these billions of dollars to keep people out of lockup,” stated Mary Sutton of Los Angeles No More Jails. “We are happy about this motion by the Board and hope to work with them to re-direct 50% of realignment dollars to community based organizations instead of in the pockets of law enforcement.”