Since 2013, the No New SF Jail Coalition has been working to end criminalization and dismantle the sheriff’s power and control in SF. The vote to close 850 Bryant by November of this year was a big win, and now it’s time to move even more money to the life-affirming resources and infrastructure our communities actually need to create true safety, security, health, sustainability and collective well-being.
For years, the City of San Francisco has increased its spending and resources to policing. Now with more public pressure and calls to cut funds for policing and reallocate these resources to our communities, Mayor Breed has announced a few budget cuts, but they are simply not enough. The Mayor’s current budget and proposed cuts to the Sheriff Dept are very insignificant compared to proposed reductions to other city departments, many of which provide the programs and spaces our city needs to thrive: 5.7% compared to about 11.3% for the SF Public Library, 16% for the Dept of Children, Youth & Families, and 31% for Public Works. This follows a harmful trend in San Francisco leadership of prioritizing criminalization, policing and jailing at the expense of our communities. Last year for instance, the average total compensation for a Deputy Sheriff was $210,000 — the equivalent of more than 2 teachers in the city.
Furthermore, the proposed cuts for the Sheriff’s Department exploit the much-needed and already mandated closure of 850 Bryant, and these cuts don’t reflect the real change we need in our city’s budget. Through jailing and policing, the Sheriff’s Depart perpetuates anti-Blackness and white supremacy in SF and separates families, snatching our people away and caging our loved ones in jails where social distancing is impossible during a global health crisis.
The people are asking for fundamental, significant shifts in the way we view and protect our safety; the call to defund the police continues to grow and amplify. We need to show the legislators policing is not the answer. We can’t reform the Sheriff’s Department or SFPD and get different results. The only way to stop police violence is to reduce the number of cages and cops in our city and county. Now is the time to make sure the money, resources and city-focus is moved toward our communities.
On August 14 2020 at 10 am, the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the SF Board of Supervisors is reviewing the budgets of the SF Police Department, Sheriff and a number of other policing programs. The committee meeting will take all day, as 13 different departments and budget issues will be discussed.
This Friday is one of the last times for public comment this year on San Francisco’s budget. As it stands now, Mayor Breed’s proposed budget is wholly inadequate.
This week, we urgently need your help in pressuring the Board of Supervisors to:
Reject the current budget
Divert more funds from policing to life-affirming community infrastructure
San Francisco needs to prioritize whole, healthy communities not criminalization and jailing. Read more below about why we need to defund the Sheriff Dept.
Talking points and call-in information will be published here Thursday evening. We’ll also send out a copy via email Friday morning.
You can also find more talking points on opposing policing and jailing in SF from No New SF Jail Coalition here.
Friday, August 14th:
Speak Up for SF Communities & Defund Policing NOW!
Submit Written or Verbal Public Comment to Mayor Breed and the Budget & Appropriations Committee for the budget our communities actually need, one that prioritizes community and care, not cops & cages!
Time: 4pm estimated time for the beginning of public comment
**We don’t have the exact time; the hearing begins at 10am with 13 departmental presentations, with public comment happening after all presentations)**
If you want support preparing what you want to say or how to give effective public comment, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will support you.
Also, if you have other access needs or interpretation needs, please reach out to us so that we can make sure your needs are met on Friday.
Who better to consult on defunding the sheriff than the people who have lived through the daily violence of being locked up?
What else can you do now to #DefundPolicing and fight jailing in SF?:
9 More Ways to Get involved
- Read and Circulate our “Stop Criminalizing our Communities” Statement on resisting policing in SF here
- Learn more from the voices of people locked up inside SF jails here
- Save the Date & Attend our next Abolition in Action event on harm reduction and decriminalization in SF: (tentatively) Thursday, August 27th 5:30-7:30 pm
- Subscribe to our website (submit your email into the “Follow” button on the right-hand side of our updates page here).
- Repost and share any of our media, testimony tiles or updates from our website
- Help distribute our Re-Entry Resource Guide and flyer to people newly released from SF jails (in both English & Spanish here)
- Follow us on social media and re-share posts (IG & Twitter: @Shutdown850; Facebook: No New SF Jail Coalition
- Join the coalition to build an SF movement against criminalization & jailing from closing 850 Bryant and beyond. Sign-up form on our website here and attend our next new member orientation in September!
- Inspire your friends, families and communities to do the same 🙂