Just days ago, we learned that Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern submitted an application to the state for $80 million dollars of jail construction funds. The Board of Supervisors quietly authorized this move at the end of June, in an apparent effort to avoid the attention and opposition that has risen against new jail plans throughout the state.
CURB members have been fighting jails from Los Angeles and Contra Costa to Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Sheriffs are moving forward with plans for new jail beds, often advertised as “nicer” jails that would supposedly provide treatment and opportunities for rehabilitation. But we know better. We know that what we need are treatment and services based in the community — not in cages.
We have a lot of questions for Sheriff Ahern: Will there be new jail beds? Why a mental health unit in the jail, instead of more services in the community? What better alternatives to incarceration could this money be spent on?