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.