Friday 8/14/20: Submit Public Comment to Defund Policing in SF

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.

Continue reading “Friday 8/14/20: Submit Public Comment to Defund Policing in SF”

TOMORROW: Funding Our Communities Budget Workshop — Abolition in Action Event #3

Our communities are safe and can thrive when we ALL have housing, healthcare, living wages, quality education, public transit, and the community-based supports and resources we need. These priorities are where San Francisco should be spending its money, NOT on jails, SFPD, nor other policing programs. “Defunding the police” isn’t our end goal – it’s just the beginning.

TOMORROW, July 25th, 1 pm:
Funding Our Communities:
SF’s $11 Billion Budget as a Strategy for Abolition
A Virtual Collective Visioning Workshop

REGISTER NOW (before 7/25) :
https://bit.ly/SF-Abolition-3

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We know what we need best to survive, thrive and take care of one another.  In this moment of calling for racial justice, divestment from the legal punishment system, and re-investment in community, we must uplift the needs of Frisco’s diverse, complex and multifaceted community, along with the memories and names of those who have not survived. In honor of the experience of Kajon Busby and the police executions of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, Luis Góngora Pat, Jessica Williams, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Sean Monterrosa and so many more – it’s time to come together to call for a San Francisco budget that prioritizes the needs of our most vulnerable and historically exploited communities – our Black,  Brown, disabled, trans, queer, and undocumented community members – and that will sustain us all. We deserve to live in a city that emphasizes care and humanity. We must fight for that San Francisco every chance we get.

TOMORROW: Come envision, learn and skill-up with us, as we strengthen people power and imagine how to truly re-invest in our communities. Together, we will:

  •  look at SF’s budget and understand budget advocacy as an abolitionist strategy to dismantle oppressive City structures and practices,

  • vision collectively to build life-affirming support and infrastructure,

  • and learn how to apply legislative pressure in budget advocacy via a mini-training on submitting public comment to decision-makers!

Continue reading “TOMORROW: Funding Our Communities Budget Workshop — Abolition in Action Event #3”

Thank You for a Night of Reentry & Abolition: Getting Out & Getting Free!

Thank you so much for coming to our webinar on SF Reentry Experiences, Struggles & Resources– “Getting Out & Getting Free”– this past Tuesday night.

The event was a great success. We were joined by over 100 people, many of whom have family members currently imprisoned in prisons and jails, as well as a few former prisoners, service providers and community organizers.

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Graphic of the Event by Jasmin Pamukcu

Continue reading “Thank You for a Night of Reentry & Abolition: Getting Out & Getting Free!”

TONIGHT: Our Reentry Event– “Getting Out & Getting Free”

Join us for our guest speakers and grassroots-expert panel for a discussion on Reentry experiences and supports in San Francisco, a night envisioning and strategizing for abolitionist systems of support for our communities and loved ones getting out of jail.

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Listen to Jesus’s experience and advice with getting out & getting free! Then come see him and out other grassroots experts tonight!

Final Speaker Line Up (with some corrected info)

  • Jesus Frisco Lens

  • Melvin Leihr

  • Jose Bernal, Ella Baker Center

  • Sheba Rivera, No New SF Jail Coalition & Critical Resistance

  • Bobby Jones-Hanley, Hospitality House

  • Eli Berry-St.John, Transgender, Gender Variant & Intersec Justice Project (TGIJP)

  • Julia Arroyo, Young Women’s Freedom Center

  • Andrea Salinas, No New SF Jail Coalition

We’ll begin at 6pm sharp, pacific standard time.

Register by noon today here: tinyurl.com/SF-Abolition-2

Registrese hoy antes de las 12pm: tinyurl.com/SF-AeA-2

Para mas informacion en espanol sobre nuestro evento, visite nuestro sitio aqui.

The link and number to use to call-in will be emailed out to everyone who has registered at 12:30pm today.

See you tonight at 6pm!

 

Join Us Next Week 6/30 for Our Abolitionist Re-Entry Event!

Getting Out & Getting Free:

A Virtual Community Event with a Panel of Grassroots Experts sharing their Experiences Getting Out, as well as Services & Resources for Folks Recently Freed from SF Jails

No New SF Jail’s  second Abolition in Action Series Session

Tuesday, June 30 @ 6 pm

Register by Friday, June 26: 

tinyurl.com/SF-Abolition-2

 

Información del evento en español aquí / Event Information in Spanish here 

 

AiA 2 Reentry_Banner

Our loved ones and community members locked up in SF jails are kept in terrible conditions. For years, prisoners have reported dangerous health conditions long before the COVID crisis, including noxious fumes and poor air quality, rat infestations, severe sewage leaks, flooding and asbestos, as well as physical, sexual and mental abuse from guards.

Knowing the dehumanizing and harmful conditions inside SF jails, and knowing the inequitable  conditions in the City right now especially during the COVID crisis, what support do you think folks need in busting out and coming home?

Continue reading “Join Us Next Week 6/30 for Our Abolitionist Re-Entry Event!”

Abolition in Action Series Launch: A People’s Assessment of the #ShutDown850 Ordinance

Last week on Sunday, May 24th, No New SF Jails kicked off our new Abolition in Action Series, a monthly series of community events on different topics related to building a jail-free San Francisco. Over 40 community members joined us for the first Abolition in Action Series event, People’s Assessment of the Shut Down 850 Ordinance.

The presentation covered the details of the legislation, why it mattered, and what’s left before 850 Bryant closes. Small group “breakout” discussions dove into more detail, assessing the ordinance and where we could go from here. Participants asked really great questions and collectively assessed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats of the ordinance to close 850 Bryant. 

You can view the presentation of the event in this video here:

 

…and view the information shared in the presentation here: #Shutdown850_ People’s Assessment of the Ordinance. (1).

We hope to see you at our June Abolition in Action event, a panel presentation on Re-Entry support and services to support folks being released from County jails in SF during the last week of June (exact date to be decided soon). 

Read more about our Abolition in Action Series here. 

 

 

 

Ordinance to #ShutDown850 PASSES!

A People’s Victory for Abolition

Since 2013, we’ve asked you to do a lot. And you’ve showed up for us.

For the past seven years, you’ve stood with us against jailing and criminalization. You’ve taken a stand for a better, more sustainable and more healthy San Francisco for all residents and communities.

You’ve shown solidarity with caged & criminalized people throughout San Francisco. You’ve gotten your organizations to sign-on to our letters and to mobilize to City Hall numerous times. You even risked arrest in order to demand our city refuses to build a new jail.

For the past 18 months, you’ve demanded City Hall take action to close 850 permanently, without out-of-county transfers or jail expansion. And you’ve called for the immediate release of people from SF’s jails in order to prevent the spread of COVID19.

You’ve stormed social media, posting status updates, tweets, selfies to #ShutDown850. You’ve submitted public comment and testimony to countless public hearings and committee meetings. You’ve lobbied City Supervisors, tirelessly.

And, it worked.

Together, we are making history. Today, the Board of Supervisors passed Fewer’s ordinance to close 850 Bryant by November 1st, 2020, with a 10 to 1 vote. Right now, SF has a record low number of people locked up inside jail, at around 700, the lowest it’s been since the 1950’s.

Just as you helped us defeat plans for a new jail in 2015, you’ve helped us chip away even further at SF’s oppressive jailing system. Because of you and your bold actions and commitment, we successfully passed this legislation to close a dangerous jail, to ensure that the cages at 850 Bryant are not refilled with people in months to come. If we can prove that no city needs a jail like 850 Bryant — not during the COVID crisis and not ever — then we have shown the world that we do not need cages of any kind for any reason. 

From everyone at the No New SF Jail Coalition, and each community targeted by SF jailing and criminalizationThank You. Thank you for your advocacy, for standing on the right side of history alongside us, for amplifying and empowering people who have been suffocated by oppression, imprisonment, and criminalization.

Continue reading “Ordinance to #ShutDown850 PASSES!”

One BOS Meeting Away from Closing 850 Bryant PERMANENTLY!

On Tuesday, May 12th, SF’s Board of Supervisors will cast their final vote on Fewer’s ordinance to permanently close 850 Bryant by November 1st. 

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This past Tuesday, May 5th, the Board of Supervisors amended the ordinance in adjusting for Sheriff Miyamoto’s concerns, namely for the Sheriff to be able to continue to use the kitchen and laundry at County Jail (CJ) 4 while renovating CJ2 if CJ2’s renovations are not finished before the November 1st closure of 850 Bryant.  

Continue reading “One BOS Meeting Away from Closing 850 Bryant PERMANENTLY!”

GAO Victory: Our #ShutDown850 Ordinance Heads for Final BOS Vote May 12th

Yesterday over 200 San Franciscans and Bay Area residents virtually swarmed City Hall yet again in support of Supervisor Fewer’s ordinance to permanently close 850 Bryant once and for all.

 The GAO vote was unanimous: 3-0 in favor of our ordinance!

NoNewSFJails worked with Fewer’s office to hold a press conference before the GAO meeting, featuring two speakers–Jose Bernal with Ella Baker Center & SF’s Re-Entry Council and Daniel Mendoza with CURYJ- both of whom have experience being imprisoned in 850 Bryant before, as well as Alexi Jones, a policy analyst with Prison Policy Initiative.

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During the GAO meeting, 22 speakers–including doctors and other healthcare workers, social workers, lawyers, former prisoners, survivors of violence, teachers and educators–called-in to the Committee representing communities across SF’s districts, and over 174 supporters submitted  letters to the Committee’s record, all urging the GAO committee to recommend Fewer’s ordinance to the BOS to close 850 permanently, without out-of-county transfers or other jail expansions.

Among yesterday’s many speakers, NoNewSFJails organizer and CUAV co-director, Lidia Salazar gave a powerful and timely statement on the layers of trauma jailing, criminalization and policing cause, and the need for our city to use community accountability and transformative healing practices instead:

Continue reading “GAO Victory: Our #ShutDown850 Ordinance Heads for Final BOS Vote May 12th”

#ShutDown850 Ordinance Reaches 8 Sponsors & Heads to Committee as Sheriff & SF “Crime” Opposition get Louder

Now veto-proof with eight sponsors signed-on after Supervisor Safai confirmed support this past weekend, Fewer’s ordinance to permanently close 850 Bryant heads to the Government Audit & Oversight Committee on Thursday (4/30), where three supporters of the ordinance will review it and hear public comment.

However, entering committee review with a heavy team of Supervisor support, already with seven supervisors signed on after introduction, the ordinance is still facing some opposition in City Hall.

“The decrepit [850 Bryant] gives Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle a run for its money, but despite its disturbing and unsafe state, our city has dragged its feet when it comes to shutting it down,” says Melissa Hernandez, attorney with NorCal chapter of the ACLU and an organizer of the NoNewSFJails Coalition. Now, with our City seeing a historically low number of less than 700 people being held in San Francisco’s jails, and an ordinance on the floor that will shut down 850 Bryant permanently, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto has continued stalling the closure of County Jail 4. Hernandez explained in a Op-Ed published in the SF Examiner last week: “Rather than working to get as many people out of 850 Bryant, Sheriff Miyamoto went as far as publicly threatening to send people to the notoriously dangerous Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County in February of this year. His plan would have also unnecessarily delayed the closure of County Jail 4 until July 2021.”

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In defense of the July 2021 closure date, Sheriff Miyamoto claims that earlier closure of 850 Bryant would displace prisoners into close contact with other inmates in SF’s other two county jails, therefore intensifying the spread of COVID-19.

Mohamed Shehk of Critical Resistance and NoNewSFJails Coalition explained to Garrett Leahy of 48Hills how egregious Miyamoto’s opposition is:

“The fact that he’s using the COVID-19 crisis [as a reason for opposing the early jail closure] is frankly shameful. Keeping 850 Bryant open will in no way reduce the risk of COVID-19 among the jail population. Public health experts have stated that prisons, jails, and detention centers function as incubators for the spread of diseases. As we’ve seen in jails across the country, it is the guards that are the most likely vectors… Keeping the jail open won’t stop guards from interacting with prisoners so won’t stop the spread of the disease. What will is releasing people so they can practice social distancing and have access to medical services.”

Similarly, members of a group Stop Crime SF have been emailing Supervisors steeped in racist and classist ideologies expressing fear of people being released from jail due to COVID, insisting that people locked up in SF jails and homeless residents do not deserve access to health and safety, and demanding the ordinance be amended to allow the Sheriff to build more jail beds when needed. As of today (4/27), they have already organized over 70 opposition letters to the GAO.

NoNewSFJails Coalition is calling on all supporters of a jail-free San Francisco to submit public comment to the GAO meeting on Thursday, April 30th, supporting the ordinance and challenging the opposition’s false claims.

As ACLU’s Melissa Hernandez exclaims:

“If the current COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, it’s that building up healthcare and housing for all community members—and not our jails—should have been our top priorities all along. Luckily, closing County Jail 4 will free up considerable economic resources to the tune of nearly $25 million. As our City leaves behind this decrepit remnant of the past, it has an opportunity to reinvest those resources into care, not cages, by funding preventative services such as mental health services, residential treatment, housing, free city college, and job training, and alternatives to incarceration such as transformative and restorative justice programs as suggested by the Work Group to Re-envision the Jail Replacement Project in 2017. We have already started building the infrastructure to end mass incarceration in San Francisco. All we need now is the courage to rise to the occasion to close County Jail 4 and end our reliance on putting people in cages, once and for all.”

**This post contains the written work of Melissa Hernandez and Garret Leahy. To read the full articles quoted in this post, check out Hernandez’s SF Examiner Op-Ed here and Leahy’s 48Hills interview with Mohamed Shehk here.