[News] SF Communities claim victory against new Jail after two year fight

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 16 10:43:37 EST 2015


December 15, 2015

Communities claim victory against new SF Jail after two year fight

SAN FRANCISCO - In a powerful public presence, community members and 
activists opposed to imprisonment celebrated as the Board of Supervisors 
rejected funding toward a controversial proposal to build a new maximum 
security jail in San Francisco at the board meeting earlier today. The 
jail proposal was rejected unanimously.

“We’ve sent a message not just to San Francisco, but to all of 
California that we will not allow our resources to be squandered on 
jails that only serve to tear communities apart,” said Lizzie Buchen of 
Californians United for a Responsible Budget. “We urge all counties 
currently considering jail construction plans to take the lead from San 
Francisco by saying no to further imprisonment, and to prioritize the 
alternatives and resources that actually strengthen communities.”

In rejecting the jail proposal, the board decided to send the funding 
ordinances that would have funded the project back to committees in 
order to discuss how the money could be used for alternatives to 
imprisonment.

“This is truly a victory for communities in San Francisco and people 
fighting jail construction everywhere,” said Lisa Marie Alatorre of SF 
Coalition on Homelessness. “Through grassroots organizing we put our 
words into action to make clear that we don’t want jails that are newer 
and nicer. We want alternatives to imprisonment and permanent affordable 
housing, for people locked inside to return to their communities. And as 
we’ve shown today, we will make that happen through our collective 
strength.”

The SF jail proposal, as with many jails across the country, was deemed 
necessary by the Sheriff’s Department to improve jail conditions, expand 
mental health services, increase safety for trans women, and provide 
substance abuse treatment. “We successfully showed that regardless of 
how state-of-the-art a jail is designed, it is a fundamentally harmful 
and violent place, and that community based services and resources are 
far more effective in getting people the help that they need while 
reducing recidivism,” says Kamau Walton of Critical Resistance Oakland 
and Black Lives Matter Bay Area.

“With such an outrageous proportion of the jail population being Black, 
we reject the notion that Black residents’ only way of accessing 
resources like mental healthcare is by criminalizing them, arresting 
them, and locking them away,” Walton said. Jail opponents have 
consistently noted that while Black people make up just around 4% of San 
Francisco’s population, they account for over half of those in the 
county’s jails.

Grassroots opposition to the jail has been spearheaded by the No New SF 
Jail Coalition, composed of various community organizations including 
California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Critical Resistance - Oakland, 
Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Communities United Against 
Violence, SF Coalition on Homelessness, and SF Taxpayers for Public 
Safety. After the vote, the Coalition is committed to continuing to 
ensure that the funding is used for community based alternatives and 
that the supervisors are held accountable to their decision today.

The Coalition will be holding a press teleconference Wednesday at 9am 
Pacific, 12 pm Eastern to address the press regarding its victory. Press 
can call in at 712.832.8300, access code 6874160.

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