On October 18th, around 100 community advocates, formerly imprisoned people, medical professionals, and organizers with the No New SF Jail Coalition packed the room at a Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety and Neighborhood Services committee hearing where plans for the closure of the seismically unsafe jail at 850 Bryant St. were discussed. Community members urged the Board of Supervisors to take immediate action to close the jail without opening up new jail space or sending prisoners outside of the county. Check out our goals here.
With mounting pressure to close the jail, Mayor London Breed released a poorly thought out and destructive plan for jail closure that both delayed the date of closure and prioritized building a new jail to be completed in 2028. Coalition and community members resolutely rejected the Mayor’s plan, and continue to draw connections between this jail construction proposal and the Mayor’s plans for more criminalization of substance use and mental health crisis through aspects of her Urgent Care SF.
Breed’s Urgent Care SF plan will further contribute to the housing and healthcare crises occurring on our streets. It disenfranchises those who are most in need of care by cycling them in and out of jail. Unhoused people in San Francisco deserve homes not jail. Members of our community struggling with drug dependency and mental health deserve compassion, not to be placed into a cage. Policing and imprisonment will not solve these problems. The City of San Francisco has the money to provide supportive housing and wraparound services for the health and wellbeing of all of its people. We urge Mayor Breed and others to raise the bar and be proactive in responding to these needs in our community. Stay tuned for related actions to come.
The coalition is at a pivotal moment with the campaign and the demands to close 850 Bryant. Instead of emptying the jail, over the last few months the Sheriff has been filling the seismically unsafe 850 Bryant. We know that we can reduce the jail population through concrete measures like those supported in 2016 through a city-wide process. We cannot let the Sheriff, Mayor, or others maintain that their hands are tied or pass the onus to a different department.
As Supervisor Haney stated at the October 18th hearing, “there’s a lot that we can do if we actually commit to getting this done by reducing the population, by looking at alternatives, and seeing what we can do inside the city. I do not support sending folks to Alameda County, I do not support building a new jail. I do support a plan to move us forward with closing County Jail #4.”
In 2015 community members and the coalition successfully pressured the City to abandon plans for a new jail – we will not accept a return to the old proposals for jail building! The No New SF Jail coalition will continue to challenge the Mayor’s plans and ramp up public support in our fight against incarceration, conservatorship, and heavily increased police presence in our communities.
The time for the Board of Supervisors to finally close 850 Bryant through reducing the number of people in the jail and investing in community resources is now!
Please continue to follow our website, Facebook, and Twitter for constant updates about all coalition events and ways you can get involved! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get more involved in the coalition and organizing.