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The time is now to stop the SF Jail

December 1, 2015

by Coral Feigin

December is a big month for the jail fight. We have got to make our voices heard loud and clear: This jail is bad for our community and ill-informed policy.

San Franciscans rally last July against the proposal for a totally unnecessary new jail.

San Franciscans rally last July against the proposal for a totally unnecessary new jail.

Last week, the Capital Planning Committee voted to move forward with the project, recommending the city accept the $80 million award from the state, authorize $215 million in high-interest loans and authorize $11.3 million to purchase the property. The following day the proposal came before the full board, which moved it forward to the Budget and Finance Committee, where the issue is on the agenda for Dec. 2.

If it moves forward from committee, then the proposed jail plan will go before the full board on Dec. 8. Save the date now – we’ll need everyone to turn out!

Join us to speak out against the new jail and for community care:

  • Budget and Finance Committee: Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. in Room 250, City Hall
  • Board of Supervisors meeting: Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m.

The mayor and his conservative allies on the Board of Supervisors are under pressure to push the jail plan through as soon as possible. They know we have been gaining strength, and that once January comes, with changes in the board composition, we will have the numbers to defeat this project. We have reduced the size of the jail to half the original proposal – now let’s defeat it soundly.

We have got to make our voices heard loud and clear: This jail is bad for our community and ill-informed policy.

It is critically important that we demand this vote be postponed. Supervisors Kim and Breed have requested a special hearing on alternatives to jail construction.

Supervisor Campos has requested a budget and legislative analyst report comparing costs of providing mental health services in the community vs. inside the jail. Lastly, law firm Equal Justice Under the Law has filed a federal lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco to dismantle the money bail system, which could dramatically reduce our jail population count.

Call Supervisors Mark Farrell, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, and Board of Supervisors President London Breed today! Insist that they postpone the hearings so there is time for a budget analysis, a hearing on alternatives to jail expansion and community input:

  • Supervisor London Breed: (415) 554-7630
  • Supervisor Mark Farrell: (415) 554-7752

It is unacceptable to move forward with a jail that promotes the repression of the city’s most marginalized residents. Of those imprisoned in San Francisco’s jails:

  • 85 percent are pretrial; most are held because they cannot afford bail
  • 56 percent are African American, and at least 70 percent are people of color
  • 25 percent are homeless

The No New SF Jail Coalition continues to stay strong to our message: San Francisco does not need a new jail. We know that cities build jails to fill jails and we know that they will fill them with poor people and people of color – especially Black people, queer and trans people and people with disabilities.

In this intense moment of gentrification and mass displacement, people in San Francisco already know that our city is under attack. The time is now to be bold.

The No New SF Jail Coalition continues to stay strong to our message: San Francisco does not need a new jail.

This is an opportunity for San Francisco to stop the proposed jail project and close down the Hall of Justice, which is seismically unsafe. As the jail population continues to decrease, we can use this time to invest in solutions that actually support people’s wellbeing.

Health care, education, re-entry support, job training, community organizations – this is what keeps our people safe. No matter how fancy the jail, a cage is still a cage.

We are calling on all San Franciscans to turn out, turn up and come out strong against this jail project. Do not let Mayor Ed Lee and the conservative Board of Supervisors push this project through.

We are calling on all San Franciscans to turn out, turn up and come out strong against this jail project.

Another San Francisco is possible. Together we will defeat this jail project!

Coral Feigin, an organizer with the Western Regional Advocacy Project and Critical Resistance Oakland, a member of Californians United for a Responsible Budget, can be reached at coral@wraphome.org.  

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