County Jail 2: An Overview of the Sheriff’s 2017 Proposal

April 19, 2017

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy is applying for $70 million from the state for a jail renovation that will cost San Francisco over $25 million dollars. This will re-entrench the city’s racist, anti-poor and anti-homeless jail system, while opening the door for years of expansion.

Increase in bed count: Sheriff Vicki Hennessy plans to renovate an area of County Jail 2 that has been closed for years (Pod D, Upper), resulting in an expansion of jail capacity by 24 people.

Increase in isolation and surveillance: The open dormitories in County Jail 2 would be renovated to create a more closed maximum security cell structure and higher security classifications which inhumanely restrict movement and increase isolation.

Who would be impacted: The proposal would create 24 two person maximum security cells, where the Sheriff proposes to jail people needing mental health treatment. The Sheriff also plans to renovate an area of the jail where transgender prisoners are held (Pod A, Upper), potentially resulting in their transfer to maximum security cells capable of increased isolation and control, rather than working to release transgender prisoners. Additionally, the Sheriff’s proposal creates 4 disability compliant cells which will be maximum security cells where people may face additional isolation and control of movement simply due to their disability.

Transfer of prisoners: The Sheriff suggests two disastrous options for where to put CJ2 prisoners during construction. In the first option, San Francisco would rent beds in another county during construction (likely Santa Rita jail in Alameda County), costing approx. $13.5 million in leased bed space, not including costly prisoner transportation from the jail to court and other appointments, and making access to loved ones and lawyers more difficult. In the second option, prisoners would be transferred to County Jail 3 in 850 Bryant and housed there until renovations to County Jail 2 conclude in 2021 or later, costing $3 million in updates to the failing structure. This is entirely counter to the intent of closing the 850 Bryant and lowering the jail population.

 Only first phase of a costly spending on jails: This initial proposal amounts to $83 million, while the Sheriff’s Department has cited the cost of full renovations (“Phase Two”) at $200 million or more.

Possible elimination of contact visitation: The proposal plans to install screens in the visitation rooms. It is unclear whether screens will be installed in all visitation spaces or whether this will apply only to maximum security prisoners.

Programing space: The proposal adds additional programing space, however there will be security screens to separate prisoners in some of these program spaces, and the majority of program spaces are holding cells and medical treatment rooms. It is unclear what will actually be used for supportive programing for prisoners.

We are working towards a jail-free San Francisco. Instead of signing blank checks for enhancing jail infrastructure, the city needs to commit to permanently closing 850 Bryant and stopping its reliance on policing and jailing to address social and economic issues. When over half of San Francisco’s jailed population is African American, most prisoners remain locked up because they cannot afford bail, and many prisoners are in need of mental health services, we know that jail renovation is no solution.

No New SF Jail Coalition releases comprehensive plan to reduce SF’s reliance on jails

For immediate release – Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What:             Press Conference to unveil “San Francisco Community Health Initiative”

When:            Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 10:00am

Where:           SF City Hall (Polk Street Steps), 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

Who:              Head Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Supervisor John Avalos, Medical Providers, Community Advocates, No New SF Jail Coalition

San Francisco – Today, community organizers with the No New SF Jail Coalition are announcing The San Francisco Community Health Initiative, a comprehensive people’s plan that prioritizes meeting social and economic needs in order to end imprisonment. The plan is backed by medical experts and city leaders, and comes as the Board of Supervisors will be hearing proposals from city agencies, workgroups, and community organizations over the next several months as to how to successfully close 850 Bryant without building a new jail. The No New SF Jail Coalition rejects the notion that mental health can be provided in locked facilities operated by law enforcement, such as the partially locked Behavioral Health Justice Center proposed by District Attorney George Gascon.

City officials are also speaking out against more jails. Supervisor John Avalos has consistently opposed jail construction and helped ensure state funding for more jails in SF was rejected. In advance of the press conference, Public Defender Jeff Adachi indicated his opposition to aspects of the DA’s proposal, stating “Mental health treatment is critically needed in San Francisco. Rather than build a new behavioral health facility, however, I believe our clients would be better served being able to access immediate treatment at San Francisco General while awaiting placement.” Adachi continues to assert bail bond reform for drastically reducing the jail count by releasing under supervision those held simply for not affording bail.

In contrast to Gascon’s proposal, the Coalition’s plan outlines a citywide, community-based approach to providing care through housing, full service partnerships, substance use services, and harm reduction models instead of jailing San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations. Lidia Salazar from Communities United Against Violence reiterated that especially for LGBTQ, Black, and homeless communities targeted by policing, “services need to be separate from law enforcement”. She continued, “We need to continue investing in community-based services that are trauma informed and provided by those most impacted by incarceration. We need services that gives people access to support and the opportunity to take charge in their own healing and transformation.”

Nearly one in four people in the San Francisco jail system are homeless before being imprisoned with an even greater number of people vulnerable to homelessness upon release. “By continuing to divest from pathways out of homelessness, like permanent, affordable or free housing and housing support services – we continue to criminalize poverty and homelessness at neck-breaking rates. The local jail system will simply be used as an emergency shelter and treatment waiting facility only to see the cycle of imprisonment continue. It is beyond time for a shift in priorities and housing investments by the city,” said Lisa Marie Alatorre with the Coalition on Homelessness.

Today’s speakers include:

  • John Avalos – San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Roma Guy – Taxpayers for Public Safety
  • Ms Janetta Johnson – Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project
  • Lidia Salazar – Communities United Against Violence
  • Jeff Adachi – Public Defender
  • Dr. Alison Hwong – Medical Resident in the UCSF Psych Dept
  • Lisa Marie Alatorre – Coalition on Homelessness
  • Representatives of Critical Resistance

The No New SF Jail Coalition is a broad based coalition including organizations of formerly imprisoned people, youth with imprisoned parents, and those working on community resources such as health and housing. The Coalition will continue to mobilize to city hearings related to jail alternatives over the next several months, oppose Gascon’s plan, and work towards reducing San Francisco’s reliance on imprisonment.

For more information and a list of endorsers, visit: https://nonewsfjail.wordpress.com/

 

Advisory: No New SF Jail Releases Report on Community Health Initiatives at Press Conference

Media Advisory – Wednesday, October 5, 2016

No New SF Jail Releases Report on Community Health Initiatives
Tells District Attorney: “Don’t build a locked mental health facility!”

Press Contact:
Lily Fahsi-Haskell: 9123985641, lily@criticalresistance.org
No New SF Jail Coalition

What:          Press Conference to unveil “San Francisco Community Health Initiative”
When:         Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 10:00am
Where:        SF City Hall (Polk Street Steps), 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco
Who:           No New SF Jail Coalition

As District Attorney George Gascon promotes replacing the jail at 850 Bryant with a locked mental health facility controlled by the Courts and Sheriff, community members speak out against this jail by another name. No New SF Jail Coalition will unveil a people’s plan, The San Francisco Community Health Initiative, which prioritizes meeting social and economic needs in order to end imprisonment. Supervisors, healthcare workers, and grassroots activists will speak to the key points of the plan, which outlines a citywide, community-based approach to providing care instead of jailing San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations.

The No New SF Jail Coalition is a broad based coalition including organizations of formerly imprisoned people, youth with incarcerated parents, and those working on community resources such as health and housing. For more information and a list of endorsers, visit: https://nonewsfjail.wordpress.com/

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Press Conference: Oppose Locked Mental Health Facility & Propose Alternatives

JOIN US AND BUILD PEOPLE POWER!
Press Conference: Oppose Locked Mental Health Facility & Propose Alternatives
Press Conference on Wednesday Oct 12 at 10am
SF City Hall, Civic Center, Polk Street Steps

WHY: Last year we successfully defeated the jail proposal. Now the No New SF Jail coalition has been focused on making sure that SF does not move in a direction of building a jail, or anything that resembles a jail. The District Attorney’s office, as you can imagine, has a different plan focused on mental health – basically a mental health jail. We must stop the District Attorney from advancing this carceral plan and ensure the Supervisors support community based resources and services instead.

Because the Supervisors will be hearing alternative proposals soon, we want to make sure they listen to community and not the DA. The coalition will be holding a press conference on Wednesday, October 12th to push back against the DA’s plan and uplift ours.

The coalition has researched and written a new report that lays out a plan for SF to move away from imprisonment and not rely on the criminal justice system. Check it out!

 

City Meetings to Close the Jail Continue: Turn Out and Testify!

On May 13th, the City of San Francisco Work Group to Re-envision the Jail Replacement Project met for the third time. The group will be meeting monthly until October, when they plan to make proposals to City leaders about how to close the jail at 850 Bryant and create alternative programs to imprisonment.

Several members of the No New SF Jail Coalition have joined this City Work Group and we are also encouraging members of the public to attend the monthly meetings in order to provide public comment and ensure we stay on the right track!
 
Recap of the May meeting:
At the May meeting, the Work Group was presented with proposals addressing what they are calling “Intercepts 1 and 2”, the points at which people come into contact with law enforcement and a person’s initial arrest and detention. Members of the Work Group and members of the public also responded to the introduction of “Intercept 0” which has been added into the Intercept Model in order to point to the need to change conditions before contact with law enforcement. While we applauded the introduction of this point into the framework, members of the No New SF Jail Coalition and others stressed the need for real policy change, resources, and funding to address Intercept 0, rather than just a theoretical framework. Additionally workgroup members stressed the need to integrate an understanding of the ways policing and jailing target people of color and poor people in order to really address this type of structural oppression.
No New SF Jail Coalition members introduced our “8 Guiding Steps Towards Ending Jailing” to the City Work Group and members of the public in attendance. The guiding steps were well received, with Work Group members discussing in small groups throughout the meeting and using the steps as a reference point when developing concrete proposals.
Upcoming meeting:
The Coalition hopes to continue to contribute specific feedback and research towards a jail-free San Francisco. We are currently working on our own decarceration plan for the city and researching issues such as bail bond reform and pre-trial release programs in order to give concrete recommendations.
We encourage you to join us at these meetings. San Francisco is currently engaged in an historic process. Come be a part of it!

Next Meeting: June 10th from 2-5pm
25 Van Ness, Room 610, Near SF Civic Center

We need your public comment at these monthly meetings to continue to uplift community based alternatives to imprisonment! Contact nosfjail@curbprisonspending.org for more info.

No New SF Jail Coalition’s “8 Guiding Steps Towards Ending Jailing”

As the No New SF Jail Coalition, we are proud of our recent victory in getting the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Vicki Hennessy to reject $80 million dollars of state money to construct a new jail in San Francisco. It sets an important precedent showing that it is possible to defeat jail expansion plans. However, we recognize that the work of stopping racist jail and police policies and practices in San Francisco is ongoing. People of color and poor people are being targeted by the violence of everyday policing and being killed by the cops in increasing numbers. They are arrested and jailed at higher rates, and this is all part of forced displacement from San Francisco as a racist gentrification process threatens to take over the city. We must work to counter the violence of policing and jailing by addressing the racist roots of these systems. The work of our Coalition must continue as part of an ongoing struggle to reverse the direction that San Francisco is moving in and build a collective vision of a city where racist policing and jailing policies are replaced by community policies and services that provide all residents with access to what they need to thrive.

Members of our coalition are currently part of a working group convened by the city to “re-envision” the jail replacement project. Here, we are advocating for the permanent closure of the current jail at 850 Bryant and real investment in the health of communities most impacted by imprisonment. We refuse to play a tokenistic role in the working group. Below are some of our coalition’s guiding points for the proposal created by the City Workgroup to Re-Envision the Jail Replacement Project. This is just one aspect in our shared struggle towards building a future for San Francisco free of the violence of imprisonment and policing. Concrete reforms are necessary to build this future and also improve the conditions for people in prison now. We see these points as offering concrete steps towards ending caging in San Francisco and building stronger resources and more transformative relationships within communities.

Download Flyer 

San Francisco Sheriff Hennessy Rejects BSCC Money for New Jail, Commits to Re-envisioning Justice with help of Community Advocates

SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday Sheriff Vicki Hennessy wrote to the Board of State and Community Corrections to rescind San Francisco’s application for jail funding under SB 863, writing “the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has tasked the Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Public Health, and community mental health and criminal justice stakeholders to convene an effort to explore alternatives that currently preclude building a new detention facility. To seek an extension at this time is not consistent with my intention to participate fully and in good faith in this local process.”

The letter from the Sheriff comes after years of No New SF Jail Coalition community mobilizations against the jail project as well as two hearings on alternatives to jail construction hosted by supportive members of the Board of Supervisors. Even the Sheriff agreed in her letter that “through this process, it has become clear that many in the San Francisco community are not supportive of using this money to replace any jail beds.” The letter makes jail construction under SB 863 funding an impossibility, however inevitably opens up the door for Ventura County to receive the funding.

While the idea that this funding would go to another county is very troubling, community members are optimistic about SF rejecting the funding. Mauricio Najarro, a member of Critical Resistance who has been active in opposing the jail said “we consider it a testament to strong community organizing that the Sheriff would respect the will of the people and reject funding today. We firmly believe that if we can stop a jail in San Francisco we can use and share the lessons we’ve learned to stop jailing everywhere.” Community members are celebrating this as a hard fought victory: for now, there will be no new jail construction in San Francisco.

The Work Group to Re-envision the Jail Replacement Project referred to by Hennessy brings together community advocates and agencies providing mental health needs and reentry services in order to create a plan for closing 850 Bryant and putting resources into community alternatives to jail construction. Their goal is to provide a draft proposal by the end of the summer to be revised and shared with the Board of Supervisors and Mayor in November 2016.

The Work Group’s first meeting was on March 11th, 2016 where over a dozen members of the No New SF Jail Coalition attended and gave public comment. The No New SF Jail Coalition plans to attend future meetings to hold the Work Group accountable to addressing root problems in San Francisco and not building any sort of asylum or locked facility. This was reiterated by Woods Ervin, a member of the Work Group representing the Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project, an SF-based organization that works with people in prison, who demanded, “We want community-based treatment or residential facilities; we do not want more cages in the form of mental health facilities that strip people of their rights and restrict their freedom of movement.”