Resolutions and Statements Against the Jail Proposal

We are working to build resistance to the jail proposal among San Francisco unions. Workers and organized labor understand that they need more community resources, such as job training programs, not jails in order to build a stronger and healthier city. Below are resolutions passed by the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition, Trans Advocates for Justice and Accountability’s (TAJA’s) Coalition, United Educators of San Francisco, and the Letter Carriers Union.


12/3/2015

San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition Statement Against New Jail Replacement Project

As communities and organizations charged with fighting for housing justice and tenants’ rights, we openly join in the demand to oppose the construction of the new jail.

Mayor Ed Lee is pushing legislation to accept $80 million in state funding as authorizing $215 million in financing for the jail’s construction. The reported $380 million cost of the jail is expected to total more than half a billion dollars upon completion. This jail is being funded through certificates of participation, which do not require public approval. Additionally, the total cost of the jail doesn’t even begin to include the cost of operations that the new jail is promising increases in. The amount of money to be spent on the jail alone is enough to warrant outrage, especially given the cuts and decreased funding for vital mental health services and affordable housing.

That in the midst of the city’s latest affordable housing crisis, the city is planning to spend $600 million on a new jail is no coincidence. We see gentrification and development as intimately linked with the increased criminalization and incarceration of poor, queer, and trans communities of color that disproportionately face the dual realities of eviction and incarceration. A 2014 MacArthur Foundation study drew strong parallels between the disproportionately high incarceration rates of black men and eviction rates of black women, and notes that both perpetuate cycles of poverty. As advocates, we know that evictions can be prevented if tenants have access to the right resources — can’t we also commit known resources to ending the cycle of incarceration?

 Further evidence of the connections between displacement and incarceration abounds. According to the Eviction Defense Collaborative 2014 annual report, around 30% of those facing eviction were Black and around 60% were people of color. The Coalition on Homelessness found that homeless people make up 25% of the jail population on any given day. Additionally, the jail population is shockingly comprised of 56% black people, while they make up less than 6% of the city’s population. 80% of the jail population are not currently charged with a crime and are locked up simply because they cannot afford to post bail. The intersections between systemic poverty, housing precarity, and criminalization cannot be any more clear.

 While residents struggle and fight to stay in their homes because of rapid gentrification, evictions, and displacement, the city is moving swiftly to build more cages to lock up many of those whose homes are under threat or are already homeless. It’s clear where the Mayor’s priorities lay and where he intends to house poor people and black people in San Francisco.

Our fight for housing justice must include fights against criminalization and incarceration.

 We demand that the Mayor and Board of Supervisors reject plans to build a new jail and instead fund alternatives including affordable housing, mental health services, jobs, and education.

Signed,
San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition and Specific Member Organizations:
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project
Causa Justa :: Just Cause
Deborah Gerson
Eviction Defense Collaborative
Faithful Fools
Grey Panthers
Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco
Manilatown Heritage Foundation
Mission SRO Collaborative
Senior and Disability Action
South of Market Community Action Network
San Francisco Tenants Union
Veterans Equity Center / Bill Sorro Housing Program

Trans Advocates for Justice and Accountability’s (TAJA’s) Coalition Statement (11/30/15)

http://tajascoalition.org

To Whom It May Concern:

Our mission is to stop the genocide of trans women of color and this can only be accomplished by ending the policing of our community. Although we are truly grateful for the Mayor’s support, we have more work to do to be the model city we hope to be. TAJA’s Coalition openly joins in the demand to oppose the construction of the new jail. Mayor Ed Lee has introduced legislation to accept $80 million in state funding as well as to authorize $215 million in financing for the jail’s construction. The cost of the jail is expected to total $600 million dollars when said and done. The amount of money to be spent on the jail alone is enough to warrant outrage, especially given the cuts and decreased funding for vital mental health services and affordable housing.

It is no coincidence that in the midst of the city’s latest affordable housing crisis, the city is planning to spend $600 million on a new jail. We see gentrification and development as intimately linked with the increased criminalization and incarceration of poor communities of color (including trans women) that disproportionately face the dual realities of eviction and incarceration. A 2014 MacArthur Foundation study drew strong parallels between the disproportionately high incarceration rates of black men and eviction rates of black women, and notes that both perpetuate cycles of poverty. As advocates, we know that evictions can be prevented if tenants have access to the right resources — can’t we also commit known resources to ending the cycle of incarceration?

According to the Eviction Defense Collaborative’s latest report, around 30% of those facing eviction were black and around 60% were people of color. The Coalition on Homelessness found that homeless people make up 25% of the jail population on any given day. Additionally, the jail population is shockingly comprised of 56% black people, while black people make up less than 6% of the city’s population. 80% of the jail population are not currently charged with a crime and are locked up simply because they cannot afford to post bail. The intersections between systemic poverty, housing precarity, and criminalization cannot be any clearer.

While residents struggle and fight to stay in their homes because of rapid gentrification, evictions, and displacement, the city is moving swiftly to build more cages to lock up many of those whose homes are under threat or are already homeless. The SF LGBTQI Violence Prevention Needs Assessment reported that there are high levels of mistrust among LGBTQI community members that police will help them if needed—36% overall don’t believe the police would help. Transgender community members, people of color, and those with lower incomes or who have experienced homelessness are least likely to believe that police will come to their aid (2015). Additionally trans people need access to safe and affordable housing (not jails) as was sadly brought to light by the murder of Taja Gabrielle de Jesus in the Bay View neighborhood. Our fight for housing justice must include fights against criminalization and incarceration.

The aforementioned report (SF LGBTQI Violence Prevention Needs Assessment, 2015) also found that transgender respondents are statistically more likely than non-trans LGBQI respondents to have experienced physical violence (79% vs. 66%*), sexual violence (65% vs. 41%***), and harassment (88% vs. 78%*). Once in jail, transgender and gender-variant people are highly likely to experience both physical and emotional violence beyond that of other non-trans inmates. A joint report from Just Detention International and the ACLU National Prison Project highlighted that the health and wellbeing of transgender inmates is further affected by relentless verbal abuse by staff and other inmates. Sexual abuse thrives in prisons and jails in which staff allow, or participate in, the degradation of inmates on the basis of their gender identity.

We demand that the Mayor and Board of Supervisors reject plans to build a new jail and instead fund alternatives like affordable housing, mental health services, jobs, and restorative justice services for those impacted by violence.

Signed:

TAJA’s Coalition

TAJA’s Coalition consists of members representing trans serving Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), trans community stakeholders, and allies in the SF Bay Area. These organizations include the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health – UCSF, Community United Against Violence, Dimensions Clinic, El/La Para TransLatinas, Public Health Institute, SF Department of Public Health, SF LGBT Center, St. James Infirmary, TGI Justice Project, Transgender Economic and Employment Initiative, Trans Life @ the AIDS foundation, Trans March, Trans Thrive, and Transgender Law Center. Driven by the leadership of trans women of color, along with individual and organizational allies, the mission of TAJA’s Coalition is to stop the genocide of TWOC.

 


 

RESOLUTION: UNITED EDUCATORS OF SAN FRANCISCO

Opposition to Harmful San Francisco Jail Construction Project

WHEREAS, San Francisco is in critical need of funding for public education, the Sheriff proposes to spend $290M (up to $465M in financing) of taxpayer dollars to demolish County Jail 3 & 4 and build a 600-800 bed jail in downtown San Francisco.

WHEREAS, more than 35% of the San Francisco jail system is vacant and 75% of the San Francisco jail population is simply awaiting trial;

WHEREAS, the San Francisco County jail population has decreased from an average daily population of 2,015 in 2008 to 1,413 in 2013, and is projected to be 1,478 in 2019 (SF Budget and Legislative Analyst, 22 January 2014),

WHEREAS, the San Francisco Sheriff currently holds just over 300 prisoners in the seismically unfit Hall of Justice, yet has almost 200 empty beds in modern and safe facilities,

WHEREAS, San Francisco can expand its prevention, diversion, pretrial alternatives, and evidence based sentencing programs and promote bail and sentencing reform in order to further reduce the jail population for a fraction of the cost of building a new jail.

WHEREAS, Instead of “state-of-the-art” or “family friendly” jails, humane pretrial programs and alternatives to incarceration are proven to be best for keep families together and healthy.

WHEREAS. San Francisco County’s District Attorney has come out against this controversial jail construction plan.

WHEREAS, the expansion of the California prison system has had a devastating effect on poor and working people of color. In San Francisco, African-Americans make up 56% of the jail population and only 7% of the general city population.

WHEREAS, As educators we are particularly concerned about the long-term impact on children whose parents are incarcerated. Nationally, 1 in 15 African American children have an incarcerated parent behind bars and they are statistically much more likely to end up in prison themselves than their peers without incarcerated parents.

WHEREAS, the Sheriff has not estimated the additional annual General Fund operating costs
of a facility, and the California Sheriff’s Association has stated that construction costs represent less than 10 percent of the total costs of a facility over its life span (California State Sheriffs’ Association, June 2006).

WHEREAS, 42 counties in California are currently choosing the dangerous path of jail construction and expansion over community-based alternatives to incarceration. San Francisco County has the important opportunity to act against this destructive trend.

WHEREAS, San Francisco has been a leader in developing drug treatment, housing, education, and re-entry programs proven to reduce the need for incarceration.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United Educators of San Francisco delegates formally oppose the San Francisco Jail Replacement Project and urge members to; write letters to their local representatives, sign-onto the letters opposing the jail, meet with supervisors in SF to formally voice their opposition, and hold an event or a press conference to make the opposition public.

Moved by makers of motion:
Kathy Rose, UESF member and Five Keys teacher inside County Jails #4, #2, and at CASC (re-entry/community program)
Anthony Pereira, UESF member and Five Keys teacher inside CJ#2 and #5
Chaska Conrow, UESF member and Five Keys teacher at the Adult Probation Department


 

RESOLUTION: LETTER CARRIERS UNION, Golden Gate Branch 214 – Adopted September 2, 2015

Oppose the Proposed Costly and Unnecessary New San Francisco Jail

Whereas, while San Francisco is in critical need of funding for public education, affordable housing, social services and health care, the Sheriff proposes to spend $240 million [up to $465 million including financing; 30 years of debt] of taxpayer dollars to build an unnecessary new 384 bed jail in downtown San Francisco; and

Whereas, the reality is that San Francisco already has too much jail space. There are approximately 1,000 empty beds every single day in S.F. county jails. Jail population has been declining steadily, remaining at 62-65% of its total jail capacity for almost four years [50% capacity of current buildings with the entire CJ#6 sitting empty]. In other words, over 35% of the city’s jail system is unused and 85% of the S.F. jail population is simply awaiting trial; and

Whereas, proponents of the plan say we need their new jail to replace the old one at 850 Bryant Street because the building is seismically unsound. However, there is already an excess of empty jail beds and no need to increase jail capacity. The jail at 850 Bryant can be closed immediately without building a replacement; and

Whereas, this controversial jail construction plan is opposed by S.F. District Attorney Gascon, the teachers’ union (United Educators of San Francisco), National Lawyers Guild, Coalition on Homelessness, Community United Against Violence, S.F. Human Services Network, People Organized to Win Employment Rights, S.F. Tenants Union, Critical Resistance, and Western Regional Advocacy Project, among many others; and

Whereas, San Francisco can expand its prevention, pretrial alternatives and diversion programs and promote bail and sentencing reform – and thereby reduce the jail population for a fraction of the cost of building a new jail and paying huge interest and annual General Fund operating expenses over many years. These alternatives to incarceration have proven to be best for keeping families together, stabilizing communities, and preparing prisoners for a productive life on the outside; and

Whereas, 42 California counties are currently choosing the dangerous path of jail construction and expansion instead of community-based alternatives to incarceration. Prison and jail expansion has had a particularly devastating effect on poor and working people of color. San Francisco has an opportunity to act against this destructive trend of unrestrained prison and jail growth.

Therefore be it resolved, that Golden Gate Branch 214 of the National Association of Letter Carriers formally oppose the costly and unnecessary San Francisco Jail Replacement Project, and urge others, including the San Francisco Labor Council, to do the same.

Advertisements