Community shuts down jail construction vote, supervisors dubiously move ahead in closed session

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 25, 2016


Diana Zuniga – (213) 864-8931, LA No More Jails Coalition

Mark-Anthony Johnson – (818) 259-1322, LA No More Jails Coalition

LOS ANGELES – Today, after years of community pressure against the $3.7 billion jail plan, a coalition of formerly incarcerated people, community organizers, students, health and environmental experts chanted down the LA County Board of Supervisors hearing and demanded the supervisors reject the jail plan. The protest forced the Supervisors into a brief recess after which they approved the final Environmental Impact Report and proposed plans to move forward with the Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility in a closed session without public participation.

The LA No More Jails Coalition challenged the Supervisors’ negligence in moving forward with a plan that significantly endangers the public health and wellbeing of women incarcerated in the proposed jail. The proposed women’s jail would be constructed at a toxic site in Lancaster. These dangers include toxic soil, historically poor waste management, and increased risk of the deadly illness Valley Fever in the area. Research has shown that Black and Brown women are most vulnerable to contracting Valley Fever. While Black women make up only 4.6% of county population, the Sheriff’s Department’s custody report from March of 2016 states that Black women make up around 31% of the women’s jail population.

The Coalition has also repeatedly challenged the inadequacy of the environmental review process by citing numerous environmental harms that would be caused by the project. Most notably, the County has failed to appropriately mitigate potential health consequences from exposure to Valley Fever, a disease that is endemic to the project site in Lancaster. Black people, and especially Black women, have been found to be more susceptible to contracting Valley Fever than other demographic groups, a fact that organizers with the LA No More Jails coalition say should raise serious alarm among county officials.

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Turn out Friday to oppose cage construction in SF!

Dear Supporter,

This Friday, October 28, is the final meeting of San Francisco’s workgroup planning the permanent closure of the City’s oldest jail.Members will be voting on proposals to submit to the Board of Supervisors, and we need a strong community presence to make sure the workgroup prioritizes housing, reentry, and alternatives to incarceration — not more cage construction.

Help us lift up community-based solutions by joining us on Friday!

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Community members rally to demand rejection of controversial jail construction plan

Press Contacts:

Diana Zuñiga – 213-864-8931 –
Christina Tsao – 626-215-4818 –

The LA No More Jails Coalition and community members are rallying to demand the rejection of a controversial proposal to build a new women’s jail in Lancaster. Today, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors will vote on the final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed women’s jail, which experts have criticized for failing to adequately address environmental concerns. The board will also vote to move forward with the other piece of LA County’s $3.7 billion jail plan: a replacement for Men’s Central Jail.

“This is a big day for the economic future of Los Angeles,” says Diwaine Smith a youth organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition. “The LA No More Jails coalition has been fighting the construction of the proposed women’s jail for more than ten years and the entire jail plan for at least five years. We know our communities deserve so much more than another jail. As a coalition, we oppose this jail plan and will continue to fight for a more equitable and just Los Angeles that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of Black and Brown communities.”

The vote on the new women’s jail was originally slated for October 11, but the Board delayed the vote due to community pressure. Grassroots organizers, environmental justice advocates, and health experts have been raising concerns over the serious health hazards of the facility. The risk of exposure to Valley Fever  — a chronic, crippling, and sometimes fatal disease — has infected people imprisoned in state prisons in Antelope Valley, including Lancaster.

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