Yesterday was a historic moment in our long and difficult fight against jail expansion in California: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reject the new jail!
Since 2013, the people of San Francisco have been standing up to the City’s proposal to build a new jail and fortify its reliance on imprisonment. We have been demanding stronger invesments in mental health and substance use treatment programs, affordable housing, and true alternatives to incarceration.
Yesterday, the Supervisors listened to the voice and power of the community!
The building at 850 Bryant “needs to come down, but more than a building we need to tear down the system of mass incarceration it represents,” said Board President London Breed. “I am not going to support another stand-alone jail to continue to lock up African Americans and Latinos in this city.”
This is a monumental victory. And we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.
More than 200 of you sent emails to Supervisors in the last week alone, and countless more bombarded their offices with calls, and flooded the hearings with your powerful presence. They know we will hold them to their responsibility to care for residents by providing diversion, mental health and substance use treatment, housing, and other community-delivered services. It is programs like these that have pushed San Francisco forward as a model city in reducing its jail population.
But we know tearing down systemic oppression is an uphill battle.
We need the City to invest in strengthening these programs that will meet the true needs of the community, particularly in a time of daily assault on Black communities in San Francisco, where African Americans make up half of the jail population but only 3% of the City’s population. The racism of policing is inextricable from the growth of jails and prisons, and though we celebrate this victory, we hold Mario Woods and all those impacted by police violence in our hearts as we resolve to continue our work to dismantle the prison industrial complex. We thank all those who have fought against this jail proposal and humbly ask you to contribute to the Justice for Mario Woods campaign and burial funds.
It is time for the state of California and the nation to follow San Francisco’s leadership and envision true alternatives to jails and prisons.
The No New SF Jail Coalition