Press Release: In Light of Recent Sheriff Violence, SF Groups Amplify Call to Stop New SF Jail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wed, April 22, 2015

In Light of Recent Sheriff Violence, SF Groups Amplify Call to Stop New SF Jail

Bay Area community groups to mobilize for Finance and Budget hearings and demand money go to community services, not more police and jails 

San Francisco – Today, the No SF Jail Coalition will attend the Finance and Budget Committee’s hearing to oppose requests from the SF Police Department for increased funding. The department is expected to ask for an additional $23 million to hire 150 more police officers, a move that community advocates argue will only worsen the violence that marginalized communities face at the hands of law enforcement.

“Law enforcement officials want to hire more officers and arrest more people in order to justify building a new $280 million jail,” says Lisa Marie Alatorre of the SF Coalition on Homelessness. “More jails and more police will only mean devastating consequences for people of color, poor, trans, and LGBQ San Franciscans.” The racial implications of policing and imprisonment is starkly exemplified by the fact that African Americans make up 56% of the SF jail population, although they only account for less than 5% of the city’s population.

“The recent revelations of the ‘gladiator-style’ fighting and racist text messages by SF’s law enforcement are simply a reminder of the violence of policing and imprisonment” says Jess Heaney of Critical Resistance. “Now, more than ever, we must stop the Police and Sheriffs Departments from pushing forward plans to expand their violent and wasteful institutions in our city.”

The No SF Jail Coalition, a collaboration of various Bay Area community groups, has been working to get the city to invest in increased services and alternatives to imprisonment, rather than wasting resources on more police and jails. “It’s time we invest in real solutions to public safety, housing, jobs, education, mental health care – not more of the same failed policies that harm our community,” says Alatorre.

The Finance and Budget Committee hearing is scheduled for 1pm at City Hall in Room 250. Spokespeople will be present to speak with press.


Press Release: New SF Jail Will Harm the Environment, Opponents Argue

For Immediate Release – Thursday, June 4, 2015

New SF Jail Will Harm the Environment, Opponents Argue

No New SF Jail Coalition files appeal to jail planners’ environmental report

SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday, organizations with the No SF Jail Coalition filed an appeal against a report by the SF Planning Department challenging its claims that construction of a proposed jail would not have significant impacts on the environment. Additionally, over 200 public comments in opposition to the report and the proposed jail have been submitted as of yesterday’s deadline for public input.

Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), any proposed construction project must go through an environmental review process assessing the project’s potential impacts on air and water quality, geology, traffic, and transportation, among other factors. Instead of conducting the much more rigorous Environmental Impact Report (EIR), jail planners opted for the less thorough Mitigated Negative Declaration, a move harshly criticized as insufficient by community members opposed to the jail.

“We demand that jail planners provide us with a full EIR and not obscure the actual environmental costs and harms of a new jail. The construction of this jail will have major impacts on transportation, public services, and air quality, yet these are not properly addressed in the current report,” said Jess Heaney of Critical Resistance. “Officials are trying to steamroll the approval of the jail, but we will throw every obstacle in their path until we put an end to the project altogether.”

Jail opponents are also raising concern that the project would displace people in Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) affordable housing living in a historic building that would have to be torn down. “It is completely absurd that SF officials want to bulldoze affordable housing units to make way for a jail during what is arguably San Francisco’s worst affordable housing crisis in its history,” says Lisa Marie Alatorre of Coalition on Homelessness. “We should be investing in affordable and supportive housing, not perpetuating the problem by squandering hundreds of millions on more jails.”

Organizers against the jail are gearing up for a public hearing on “Alternatives to Jail Rebuild,” sponsored by Supervisor Jane Kim and Board President London Breed. Community members and residents will be mobilizing for the hearing to urge elected officials to invest in effective alternatives to the jail, such as expanded community-based mental health programs, drug treatment, and bail reform. The hearing will take place at the regular Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee meeting on June 18, 2pm, in Room 250 of City Hall.