Our Friends in Los Angeles are Making History!

Over the last few years, there has been a community-wide fight led by JusticeLA against any expansion of jails in Los Angeles. Here at NoNewSFJail, we are inspired by their work and overjoyed that the time, resources, and energy that was spent to take a momentous stand against the Prison Industrial Complex resulted in a resounding win. We hope to carry that momentum into our own campaign to close Jail #4 at 850 Bryant!

Below is the email that was sent out detailing Justice LA’s work.

We made history….Again!

Today, Justice LA and many other organizations and community members accomplished what we were told was an impossible feat. For nearly a decade, the specter of a massive $3.5 billion jail plan loomed over the people of Los Angeles. We resisted the creation of more cages, we reclaimed the calls for public safety, we reimagined our county with community-based care, and we won. In February of this year, we successfully defeated the women’s jail plan, and today, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of cancelling the contract with McCarthy to build a mental health jail! 

Read JusticeLA’s press release here.

This victory is celebrated on the shoulders of community members on the front lines of state violence – the youth targeted by gang injunctions in our neighborhoods, the mothers that buried their children as a result of sheriff violence, the families separated because they could not afford bail. Through our collective work, we have not only stopped two jails in our county, we have redirected the county away from punitive systems and towards community reinvestment. 
 But our organizing is not over! The sheriff’s department made it clear today that they will fight progress every step of the way. It is up to us to ensure the implementation of a new vision for Los Angeles. 

So what’s next?

  • Ensuring the reinvestment of the nearly $1 billion that would have been used for jail construction.
  • Fighting for robust pretrial reform that does not replace money bail with risk assessment instruments nor an expansion of electronic monitoring in Los Angeles  
  • Continuing to build on the Alternatives to Incarceration Workgroup’s interim report and ensure that the final report reflects the will of the community.
  • Building mechanisms to hold the sheriff’s department, probation department and the district attorney accountable and strip power from their departments. 
  • Eliminating the attacks of police and law enforcement on LA’s communities of color.

Our work towards decarceration and community reinvestment in LA County is not over. #JusticeLA will continue to lead on the implementation of the community-based system of care we envisioned. Congratulations to our coalition members and thank you to our partners and allies for standing so strong with us today! We encourage everyone to stay plugged in and stay activated! 


Our Day of Action!

On Thursday July 25th, nearly 100 people mobilized to San Francisco City Hall to demand that the Board of Supervisors and Mayor take immediate action to shut down the jail at 850 Bryant. The Day of Action to Shut Down 850 included advocacy meetings with Supervisors and their staff, outreach to the Tenderloin and Civic Center – areas highly impacted by jailing, and an email and call in campaign to the Supervisors.

Thank you to all those who participated! Together we generated over 100 calls to Supervisors. We spoke with representatives from all 11 Supervisors offices and community members met directly with Supervisors Ronen and Mandelman to share the impact of jailing and policing on their lives. Our letter to close 850 Bryant was signed by 70 San Francisco community based organizations.

Our demands to close the jail are clear, strong, and achievable.

  • The City must reduce the jail population through alternatives to incarceration, immediately closing down the jail at 850 Bryant through providing housing and treatment services, decriminalizing quality of life charges, and reducing the number of people imprisoned pretrial.
  • San Francisco must not use strategies that increase the hardship on imprisoned people or their loved ones, nor strategies that increase the City’s spending on criminalization, such as transfers to other jurisdictions jails, any new jail construction or reopening, or expanded electronic monitoring.
“We support shutting down 850 because it costs at least $258 to imprison someone per day, and instead of using this money to criminalize people, we could use it for services like housing or treatment programs and then to improve our schools we could use it to add counselors to our schools so the students there won’t be going into the school to prison pipeline and won’t have to go through it.” 
– Briseis, Coleman CMACer, speaking to Supervisor Rafael Mandelman on why we need him to sign the letter committing to closing 850 by July 2020

During the Day of Action, Supervisor Ronen joined 75 organizations and Supervisor Haney in signing on to our letter to close the jail. Other members of the Board of Supervisors heard our call, and on July 30th when Supervisor Haney introduced legislation for a hearing to close the jail, Supervisors Ronen, Fewer, Walton, Brown, and Yee co-sponsoring.

Announcing the hearing, Supervisor Haney noted that “People who are housed [sic] there need and deserve individualized treatment and rehabilitation, not concrete cellblocks in a fundamentally unsound building… The community has recognized the need to act.” Then addressing his colleagues further, he continued, “Many of you were lobbied, I believe, last week. One hundred community members that came and met with our respective offices. Seventy community organizations who signed on, united and this amount to take immediate steps. In 2015 we rejected new jail construction, and instead directed departments to pursue ways to reduce the jail population. We are now well along in the process, and need to put forward both a process and a plan for this jail to be closed.”

Since 2014, the Board of Supervisors has hosted over a dozen hearings relating to closure of the jail that have consistently reiterated to close the jail at 850 Bryant. The time is now and the No New SF Jail coalition will work to ensure that the upcoming hearing initiates concrete steps towards closure and legislation to shut down 850 by June 2020! Join Us.