This week, we experienced a monumental victory in our long and difficult fight against jail expansion in California: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected the city’s proposed new jail!
The CURB coalition has worked tirelessly to stop the new San Francisco jail since early 2013, when we first discovered the sheriff’s secret plan to build the facility and further entrench the city’s reliance on imprisonment.
Our overwhelming victory against the jail is a testament to the power of organizing by formerly incarcerated people and their families, by teachers and service providers, and by community leaders in marginalized and low-income communities of color that are overwhelmingly targeted by the criminal justice system.
Since 2011, California has allocated more than $2.2 billion to build new jails and reinforce our state’s imprisonment system. In response, CURB members have formed coalitions across the state, from Contra Costa and Alameda County to Los Angeles and San Bernardino, to move resources away from jails and towards community-based programs and true alternatives to incarceration.
San Francisco’s unanimous rejection of the jail is a unanimous rejection of the reliance on imprisonment as a solution to social problems. It is time for the state of California and the nation to follow San Francisco’s lead and envision true alternatives to incarceration.
Statewide Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
Californians United for a Responsible Budget