Organizational Letter to Close 850 Bryant

July 23, 2019 | Over 65 Organizations have signed the letter to demand a closure of 850 Bryant. See list below.

Dear San Francisco Supervisors,

As community-based organizations, labor organizations, and faith-based organizations, we call for the closure of County Jail 4 (850 Bryant) as soon as possible and no later than July 2020. This building has been marked for demolition since 1996 and has been declared seismically unsafe, which puts people held in the jail and jail workers at grave risk. If a major earthquake occurs, the City’s financial liability will be dwarfed by its moral failure. In 2017, City Administrator Naomi Kelly reinforced the calls of community, engineers, and other city leaders by naming a closure date of end of 2019. Midway through the year, no plan to close the jail has been implemented.

The jail system in San Francisco currently cages the city’s most targeted and vulnerable residents, with a population that is 52% Black, 40% homeless at time of arrest, 25% transitional aged youth, and 30% users of jail mental health services. Of the entire population, 82% are being jailed pretrial and most would be eligible for release if not for cash bail amounts over $25,000. In a time of rising gentrification and displacement of working poor, increased attacks on houseless communities, and growing anti-immigrant sentiments, we ask the City to take proactive steps to defend those its vulnerable. Closing 850 Bryant is a first step towards addressing this social crisis.

In 2016, the Board of Supervisors recognized that the City needs to create comprehensive solutions across numerous departments and agencies to reduce imprisonment without building a new jail. While some policy and programmatic changes have taken effect over the last 2 years, these changes are not being implemented with the urgency that is warranted by the seismic threat of 850 Bryant. 

Reducing the jail population through alternatives to incarceration will achieve the City’s goals, and San Francisco could successfully shut down the jail at 850 Bryant through:

  • Increased housing, including supportive housing;
  • Comprehensive mental health and substance-use services;
  • Creation of additional hospital treatment beds;
  • Decriminalization of quality of life charges;
  • End to police harassment of homeless people;
  • The reduction of people imprisoned pretrial.

We do not support closure strategies that will increase the hardship on imprisoned people or their loved ones nor strategies that increase the City’s spending on criminalization, such as:

  • Transfers, such as to Santa Rita or other jails outside of the City;
  • Renovation of County Jail #6, nor any new jail construction; or
  • Expansion of electronic monitoring.

The below-signed organizations and individuals request the Board of Supervisors, Mayor, and Sheriff assert their powers to close County Jail #4 by July 2020. We call on the Board of Supervisors to pass legislation mandating 850 Bryant’s closure, and immediately creating a process to ensure City efficacy, transparency, and accountability for swiftly moving towards this mandate.

  • ABO Comix
  • ACLU of Northern California
  • All Of Us Or None
  • Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
  • Anti Police-Terror Project
  • API Equality – Northern California
  • API Legal Outreach
  • Arab Resource and Organizing Center
  • Asian Law Caucus
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network
  • Asian Prisoner Support Committee
  • Because Black is Still Beautiful
  • Berkeley Free Clinic
  • Flying Over Walls, SF Bay Area Black and Pink
  • Budget Justice Coalition
  • California Coalition for Women Prisoners
  • California Healing Justice Program of American Friends . Service Committee
  • California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
  • Californians United for a Responsible Budget
  • Causa Justa Just Cause
  • CCSF Student Assembly
  • Coalition on Homelessness
  • Coleman Youth Advocates
  • Community Housing Partnership
  • Community United Against Violence
  • Communities United for Health and Justice
  • Critical Resistance Oakland
  • Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing (DISH)
  • Dolores Street Community Services
  • Do No Harm
  • Democratic Socialists of America – SF chapter
  • Early Care Educators of SF
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
  • Essie Justice Group
  • Eviction Defense Collaborative
  • Global Women’s Strike
  • HealthRIGHT 360
  • Hospitality House
  • Housing Rights Committee of SF
  • Human Impact Partners
  • Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, Oakland
  • Justice Study
  • The Justice Teams
  • Larkin Street Youth Services
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
  • LYRIC
  • New Door Ventures
  • National Lawyers Guild San Francisco
  • Parent Voices SF
  • People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER)
  • PolicyLink
  • Prisoner Advocacy Network
  • SF Office of Public Defender
  • Public Health Justice Collective
  • Racial Justice Commitee of SF Public Defender
  • Reuniting Families Contra Costa
  • San Francisco Rising
  • Senior & Disability Action
  • SF No Injunctions Coalition (SFNIC)
  • SF Tenants Union
  • SF Youth Commission
  • St James Infirmary
  • Supervisor Matt Haney
  • Supportive Housing Provider Network
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice Marin
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice San Francisco
  • Survived and Punished
  • Swords to Plowshares
  • Taxpayers for Public Safety
  • TGI Justice Project
  • The Freedom Archives
  • Third Traditions Foundation
  • USPROStitutes
  • Voluntary Services First
  • Western Regional Advocacy Project
  • Young Women’s Freedom Center
  • Youth Justice Coalition