MEDIA CONTACTS: Diana Zuniga—(213) 864-8931, Californians United for a Responsible Budget
What: Press Conference
Where: Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
When: Tuesday, September 1st, 9:00 AM
Who: Californians United for a Responsible Budget; Critical Resistance Los Angeles; Dignity and Power Now; Global Women’s Strike; LA No More Jails Coalition; Youth Justice Coalition; Los Angeles Community Action Network
Los Angeles— On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, community members and grassroots organizations will host a press conference decrying the proposed $2.3 billion jail plan at a Los Angeles Board of Supervisors hearing. The group will instead call for a continued investment in diversion and alternatives to incarceration including, pre-trial release, community-based mental health treatment, housing, The L.A. Board of Supervisors will be discussing a number of things related to the massive jail plan including the creation of an Office of Diversion and Reentry, the creation of a Gender Responsive Advisory Board and a Prop.47 task force.
“The Board of Supervisors is submitting a package of motions, many of which seem to be beneficial and will move us closer towards decarceration,” states Jayda Rasberry of Dignity and Power Now (DPN). “We know if there was at least two years of investment in services and diversion the massive $2.3 billion jail plan would be obsolete. The women’s jail should be stopped. Los Angeles needs to invest in answering the issues women are experiencing now.” Dignity and Power Now released a report with CURB on the human rights abuses in women’s jails and prisons earlier this month.
On August 18th, after an illegal vote, the Board of Supervisors voted to rescind their action to move forward on an Office of Diversion and the massive jail plan. During the weeks between this illegal vote Los Angeles County established the women’s jail project through the State Public Works Board. The coalition submitted a letter questioning the legality of such a move and asking the State Public Works Board to stop the women’s jail from moving forward.
“If the entire vote was shown to be illegal how can the project then be established with the state within this same period of time?,” asks Shabina Toorawa of Critical Resistance Los Angeles. “Our focus should be reduction, family reunification and community programs now, not later when the county sends people 70 miles away from their communities.”
Along with a substantial decrease in the jail population due to Prop 47 and other policies on the board agenda there is a move to develop a Prop.47 task force.
Many advocates believe that Prop. 47 will have a higher impact on women of color. In a recent Sacramento Bee article Susan Burton, of A New Way of Life stated, “If Proposition 47 stalls, women of color will be hit hardest. California is the world’s No. 1 jailer of women, who are three times more likely than men to be in prison for low-level, nonviolent offenses. With racial bias playing a significant role in sentencing, the numbers are even higher for black and brown women.”
The coalition will be available for comment at Tuesday’s press conference. The coalition is pushing towards a stop to the $2.3 billion jail plan, an intentional reduction of people in women’s jails without construction, and supports the investment towards alternatives and diversion that the board is making.