L.A. Residents Plan a Healthier and Safer City

For Immediate Release – March 29th, 2013

Free participatory workshop in Inglewood this Saturday

Contact: Diana Zuñiga

Diana@curbprisonspending.org

213-864-8931

Los Angeles – Residents of Los Angeles County will gather to plan what would make their neighborhoods healthier and safer in an innovative workshop to be held this Saturday, March 30 from 2-7 pm at Chuco’s Justice Center (1137 E. Redondo Blvd Inglewood). The workshop is called “Envisioning a Healthy FREE LA: Community Solutions not Jail Expansion”.

“At a time when the Board of Supervisors is considering proposals from the Sheriff to spend nearly $200 million on a new women’s jail and almost $1 billion on a new men’s jail, we want to provide space and tools for residents to envision how $1.2 billion might be used differently. This space is crucial for the community to create our definition of public safety and build a vision for justice outside of cage,” said Kim McGill, a former prisoner in LA County Jail, who works with the Youth Justice Coalition and the LA No More Jails coalition.

The workshop will be facilitated by members of the group Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, including the organization’s president, architect Raphael Sperry. Sperry was awarded a prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship in 2012.

“Workshops like the one we’ll be hosting on Saturday are an important way to democratize the planning process,” Sperry explained. “It is especially important that the public have a voice when massive public projects are proposed. By the time a completed plan is presented to the Board of Supervisors, the public’s options are generally reduced to support it or to oppose it. We are offering an opportunity for people in LA to identify needs and problems and for them to help design solutions that meet their needs.”

Workshop organizers promise an interesting day of activities open to all. “The only expertise needed is to have lived in Los Angeles. If you have an idea about what your neighborhood or this County needs, you have all the credentials you need to help,” said Sperry.

“We’re going to create real alternatives to the Sheriff’s shortsighted jail expansion,” said organizer Mary Sutton of Critical Resistance, a community organization sponsoring the workshop. “We’ll be making drawings, maps and models of what we could build that would really help our communities.”

“The Sheriff is proposing to spend at least $1.2 billion in public funds in construction costs alone, and who knows how much more in annual operations,” said Sutton. “This workshop will allow Angelenos to have a say in how our tax dollars are spent. Public financing for a public project should require public planning.”

The day’s schedule includes a teach-in on plans for jail & prison expansion from 2:00-3:30 and workshops to develop drawings and models from 4:00-7:00.

Workshop organizers include: Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Critical Resistance, LA No More Jails, Youth Justice Coalition, and Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility.

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