Abolitionist Organizing Wins Again! LA County Terminates Contract for Mental Health Jail Construction

Abolitionist Organizing Wins Again! LA County Terminates Contract for Mental Health Jail Construction

On August 13th, LA communities celebrated a monumental victory won by incredible community organizing by groups like Critical Resistance Los Angeles, the Justice LA coalition, and many more! After years of our community pressure against a multi-billion dollar jail expansion plan, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to end plans for the construction of a new mental health jail! Echoing community demands of “Care Not Cages,” the Supervisors also voted to explore building a decentralized, community-based system of care across LA.

This victory came after a long day at the Supervisors’ meeting where the Justice LA coalition, in tandem with a number of community organizations, mobilized over 200 formerly imprisoned organizers and activists, health workers, community leaders, and advocates to a rally and deliver public comment. Critical Resistance Los Angeles (CRLA) is proud to be part of the Justice LA coalition along with the Youth Justice Coalition, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Dignity and Power Now, Just Leadership USA, the TransLatin@ Coalition, Million Dollar Hoods, Frontline Wellness Network, and others.

CRLA Organizer Michael Saveedra speaking on Tuesday at the Justice LA coalition press conference and rally. (Closed Captions available.)
Critical Resistance Los Angeles Organizer, Michael Saavedra, stated “Today’s vote is a tremendous victory for the people of Los Angeles, because as someone who was imprisoned for over 19 years, I have seen first-hand that the decades of relying on the system of jails has only contributed to more harm for our communities. What the Justice LA Coalition achieved today serves as a powerful example nationally that the tide is turning against jail construction in favor of investing in care and support for communities in need.”
After years of coalitional work on this campaign by CRLA members and volunteers past and present, we are fueled by this victory, and are committed to continue our struggle for abolition in LA and beyond. The task in front of us now is to ensure that the County follows through on resourcing decentralized, community-based care – and that those resources truly reflect the communities who are directly impacted by the prison industrial complex. In addition to resources such as care, voluntary treatment, and housing, LA County must truly prioritize eliminating pretrial jailing, decriminalizing quality of life charges, and ending the onslaught of policing on LA’s communities of color and unhoused people. And we must close down Men’s Central Jail.

Let’s keep going. We hope that you continue supporting this work, and fighting alongside us, so that together we continue to win.

Towards abolition,
Critical Resistance Los Angeles