After years of devastating cuts to life-affirming programs such as education and healthcare, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is poised to approve the construction of a $150 million jail that will cost $30 million a year to operate. As we know, the same working and poor communities of color most deeply impacted by these budget cuts will also be those most likely to be imprisoned in this new jail.
Unless we stop them. Join Critical Resistance, All of Us of None and other CURB member organizations at 9:00am, May 8th at 400 County Center in Redwood City to tell the Board of Supervisors to cancel plans for the new jail. Whether or not you can make it to the meeting, flood the phone lines of the County Supervisors to express your opposition to the new jail (see call script below). And forward this call-out far and wide.
The last few years San Mateo County has seen proposals to cut more than $50 million from programs and services, including:
· $15.5 million from children’s health care, wellness, behavioral health programs
· $625,000 from substance abuse treatment
· $15 million in cuts to San Mateo County community colleges
· Hundreds of thousands in park closures
· $7 million by hiking up working families’ healthcare costs, jeopardizing their retirement, and forcing a wage freeze for unions
While the numbers are hard to fathom, we experience the results of such cuts in our communities every day. Sick children who can’t see a doctor, mental health and substance abuse issues aggravated by a lack of support, closures of parks and public spaces where we spend our social time, increasing community college fees that push poor and working people out of higher learning, and stolen dreams of retirement for older people.
The human costs of a $150 million jail will include more cuts to the programs mentioned above, and the devastation that imprisonment brings to poor communities and communities of color. Many of us have known the terror of living in a cage or having a loved one stolen from our lives: extreme isolation, increased mental health and medical problems, fractured families, discrimination, financial devastation, homelessness, and other types of damaging instability.
Fighting construction of the jail in San Mateo County is a way to connect fights happening all over California against jail and prison expansion. Fighting this jail is part of securing a better future where meaningful work, empowering education, stable and well-kept housing, and holistic healthcare are our priorities. Help us to build strong communities by fighting back against the jail construction in San Mateo County, and in communities everywhere.