Since California initiated new streams of financing for county jail construction in 2009, Critical Resistance Los Angeles (CRLA) has been successfully fighting jail expansion in LA County for over a decade in partnerships and coalitions including Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), LA No More Jails, and most recently Justice LA.
In 2019 Justice LA defeated the contracts for LA County to build both a new women’s jail and mental health jail, a plan that we have been campaigning against since 2009 when the funds were first allocated to the project. Arguing against mental health jailing and reforms intended to improve the system of imprisonment, the chapter continues to push the County to reduce and dismantle imprisonment and invest in life-sustaining resources.
We kept pressing forward, insisting that a locked treatment facility run by the Sheriff is not a life-sustaining resource of community support but just a façade for a jail. On August 13th, 2019 Critical Resistance Los Angeles, the Justice LA coalition, and LA communities celebrated a monumental victory against new jail expansion. After years of our community organizing and 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.
The task in front of Justice LA 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. Read more here about the victory.