It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment in San Francisco! Despite signifcant community opposition, the Mayor and his conservative allies are barrelling forward to approve a new maximum security jail.
First, the Board of Supervisors waived the 30-day rule to rush the vote. Then, they denied a request from the Youth Commission to hold the hearings after school to allow youth to participate.
We need to stand stronger than ever.
On Wednesday at 10 am, the Budget and Finance Committee seeks to vote on whether to move forward with the jail plan. We need to show the Board of Supervisors that we are united, that we don’t back down, and that we know what our community truly needs.
It is critically important that the Board postpones this vote. Supervisors Kim and Breed have requested a special hearing on alternatives to jail construction. Supervisor Campos has requested a budget and legislative analyst report comparing costs of providing mental health services in the community vs. inside the jail. Lastly, law firm Equal Justice Under the Law has filed a federal lawsuit against the City and County to dismantle San Francisco’s money bail system, which could dramatically reduce the number of people incarcerated pre-trial.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Come to the Budget and Finance Committee hearing: Wednesday, December 2, 10 am, City Hall, Legislative Chamber, Room 250. We need to demand a “continuance” so they postpone the vote, allowing time for an analysis of community-based mental health services, a hearing on alternatives to jail expansion, and an opportunity for community input. When the committee does take a vote, we need to demand they vote NO to another jail in San Francisco.
2. Email and call the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and encourage others to do the same! Below are their email addresses and phone numbers, and a sample script:
Script: Dear Supervisor ___________,
In the next few days you will consider a proposal to construct a new, $240 million jail. I urge you to continue the upcoming hearings to fully explore alternatives to funding a new jail. When you do vote on the jail project, I urge you to vote NO.
While some claim we need to build this jail to accommodate those currently housed at the Hall of Justice, the truth is San Francisco does not need a new jail, does not want a new jail, and cannot afford a new jail. Our current jail system is only at 50% capacity. Of those imprisoned in San Francisco’s jails: 85% are pretrial, and most are held because they cannot afford bail; 56% are African American and at least 70% are people of color; and 25% are homeless. San Francisco should be investing in alternatives like pre-trial diversion, reentry programs, community-based mental health and substance use services, affordable housing, job training, and education. If San Francisco uses taxpayer money to build a new jail instead of supporting alternatives like these, the City will exacerbate its criminalization of poverty, homelessness, communities of color, and people with mental health needs.
It is unacceptable to move forward with a jail that promotes the repression of the City’s most marginalized residents. Together, we will stop this jail!