No New SF Jail Coalition
July 2019 communiqué
After the 2015 victory in stopping a new jail from being built, the No New SF Jail Coalition worked alongside city players to try to bring down the jail population in order to close the jail at 850 Bryant without constructing or reopening any jails. While there have been several policy changes, programmatic expansions, and some creation of new resources these have not resulted in a decrease in the jail numbers. In fact, the population size is staying the same or increasing. At the same time, more cops have taken to the streets and there has been a concerted effort to remove and criminalize houseless people. As a result, a staggering 40% of people in the jail system are houseless. Newly published findings showed that 474 people incarcerated in SF were homeless, 25% spent at least one night in jail or prison in the past year, and 13% were on probation or parole.
In the past, the city has spent at least $20 million of the city budget every year criminalizing houseless people through quality of life laws. Plus, this year the city’s proposed budget includes increased funding for the police-led “healthy streets operation center” that involves sweeps and increased targeting of houseless folks in the name of “clean streets”. Instead of criminalizing houseless people, the No New SF Jail Coalition calls for more funding for supportive housing and community based co-located services. The city does not need to increase city money towards policing or jails!
Even though city officials agree that 850 Bryant needs to close, they are stalling in order to put forward their replacement ideas that include sending imprisoned people to Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, refurbishing and reopening the closed County Jail 6 in San Bruno, or building a new jail. Each of these proposals is unacceptable and we can’t wait any longer to get imprisoned people out of the building and close 850 Bryant. We are emboldened by recent efforts to legislate the closure of Juvenile Hall and know the same is possible for 850 Bryant, a seismically catastrophic building. Now is the time and we believe with your support we will pass legislation by the end of this year to close 850 Bryant.
We are at a crucial moment in this campaign. Our coalition is growing and we are building a movement to Shut Down 850 Bryant and end racist policing of our communities. We know that more resources for our communities like housing and community based services are what we need, not jails and police. Together we can build a better San Francisco! We urge all residents of San Francisco to begin calling and writing their supervisors to demand the closure of 850 Bryant immediately and help us build pressure in City Hall! Follow our campaign on social media @ShutDown850 and our website www.nonewsfjail.org.