FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wed, April 22, 2015
In Light of Recent Sheriff Violence, SF Groups Amplify Call to Stop New SF Jail
Bay Area community groups to mobilize for Finance and Budget hearings and demand money go to community services, not more police and jails
San Francisco – Today, the No SF Jail Coalition will attend the Finance and Budget Committee’s hearing to oppose requests from the SF Police Department for increased funding. The department is expected to ask for an additional $23 million to hire 150 more police officers, a move that community advocates argue will only worsen the violence that marginalized communities face at the hands of law enforcement.
“Law enforcement officials want to hire more officers and arrest more people in order to justify building a new $280 million jail,” says Lisa Marie Alatorre of the SF Coalition on Homelessness. “More jails and more police will only mean devastating consequences for people of color, poor, trans, and LGBQ San Franciscans.” The racial implications of policing and imprisonment is starkly exemplified by the fact that African Americans make up 56% of the SF jail population, although they only account for less than 5% of the city’s population.
“The recent revelations of the ‘gladiator-style’ fighting and racist text messages by SF’s law enforcement are simply a reminder of the violence of policing and imprisonment” says Jess Heaney of Critical Resistance. “Now, more than ever, we must stop the Police and Sheriffs Departments from pushing forward plans to expand their violent and wasteful institutions in our city.”
The No SF Jail Coalition, a collaboration of various Bay Area community groups, has been working to get the city to invest in increased services and alternatives to imprisonment, rather than wasting resources on more police and jails. “It’s time we invest in real solutions to public safety, housing, jobs, education, mental health care – not more of the same failed policies that harm our community,” says Alatorre.
The Finance and Budget Committee hearing is scheduled for 1pm at City Hall in Room 250. Spokespeople will be present to speak with press.