Los Angeles Board of Supervisors Votes to Cancel Plans to Build Women’s Jail in Lancaster

17 Feb

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, after more than two and a half hours of public comment and before an audience of hundreds, voted on Tuesday, Feb.12, on the motion of the Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to cancel the plans to build a woman’s jail at Mira Loma in Lancaster, California.

Before public comments, Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn said more than 150 people were to speak.

Of the speakers providing public comment, about six spoke in favor of the project, mostly from the building trades unions.  The others spoke against the plan to build the women’s jail.

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Crowd gathers, before the press conference, on Tuesday, Feb. 12, outside the meeting of the Board of Supervisors to protest the building of women’s jail in Lancaster; photo by Barry Saks

To hear the entire Justice LA press conference, click here,

Earlier on the steps outside, Justice Los Angeles and its coalition members, held a press conference, emceed by Eunisses Hernandez, who is the Los Angeles Campaign Coordinator for Just Leadership USA and who said she is a member of the Executive team for the Justice LA Coalition.  Before the press conference, Hernandez, 29, said, “I am here today because I would like the county to prioritize building community-based services in all the districts of the county, instead of focusing on building…one main central facility.”  Hernandez added what is needed are “regional community centers that provide mental health services, health and human services, employment services.”  She was confident the plan would be voted down.  She supported the motions for the studies addressing the problem, “about four.”

After the press conference those gathered marched into the building chanted “Care not cages,” led again by Reggie Bush.

 

 

 

Before the press conference, rallies were held.  At the first, about 50 people, led by Reggie Bunch, the crowd briefly chanted: “Hey, hey, ho, ho, this jail system has got to go;” “Women’s jail has got to go; Men’s central jail has got to go, no more jails, no more jails.”  This toxic jail system has got to go.”  They also chanted: “We need care, we don’t need cages.”

 

 

 

At the second, immediately before the press conference, the protesters outside had grown to more than 100, sometimes chanting, “Jobs not jails,” sometimes chanting, “No more prisons, no more jails” and other times, “We need healing, mental health.”  The chants ended with “Black lives matter here” and “Brown lives matter here.”

Before the press conference, James Nelson, 52, said he was wrongly convicted of murder in 1986 and served 29 years.  I got out because I demonstrated I was suitable for parole.”  Nelson, who is featured on the Dignity and Power Now website, said black and brown are being “locked up” for profit, including the mentally ill, that the mentally ill need services, not criminalization.  Nelson said he first volunteered at DPN, but now works full-time for it.  He said DPN was a grassroots organization.  He said he was planning to speak before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

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Formerly incarcerated James Nelson, who said that he was wrongly convicted of murder and that he got out because he demonstrated he was suitable for parole, planned to speak, on Tuesday, Feb.12, before the Board of Supervisors; photo by Barry Saks

Also before the press conference, Mateo Nagassi, 40, said while he has never been incarcerated, he has two brothers, who are now in state prison, one serving 20 years and the other 24 years.  Nagassi, who identified himself as a member of Reform LA Jails and Dignity and Power Now, said besides being there because of his two brothers, he wants “to stop this cycle of incarceration.”  He added, “We need to start at the bottom, local and move countywide and then statewide.”  He also said instead of spending the money on more prisons, the money would be better spent on focusing on rehabilitation, treatment of addiction and on homelessness.

 

 

 

5 Responses to “Los Angeles Board of Supervisors Votes to Cancel Plans to Build Women’s Jail in Lancaster”

  1. denniskortheuer Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 4:56 pm #

    The movement against jails and for treatment instead is incredibly important. They jail and prison systems in the United States are shameful and destructive. But, an important part of Barry’s article is the statement about the building trades union being against the cancellation of building the new jail. Too often people, not just unions, take positions that are short-sighted and against their own best interests. We progressives must continue to work with unions and others and, for example in this case, show how the suggested construction of local and different kinds of facilities are indeed not only morally correct but in the end better for their own interests. We should not abandon the needs of those working-class people who depend on these kinds of jobs.

  2. willfreeman555 Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 7:59 pm #

    Great article, Barry. It was interesting that the fellow ramrodding the resistance to jails , Mr. Nagassi, has two brothers in prison for over 20 years each. Seems like the emphasis should be upon keeping people out of prison by eliminating crime. What caused his brothers to be incarcerated? They committed serious probably violent felonies and must not be on the streets, Yet, Nagassi seems to think jails/prisons are unnecessary or somehow evil. At the same time they complain of overcrowding and other poor conditions. They want mental health services, and that is certainly necessary, but oftentimes “mental health” is little more than the prescription of psychiatric drugs which often wind up on the street. Like many progressives, these folks want to oppose various institutions, and suggest vague demands for “community involvement” and “grass roots change” but they fail to provide a concrete alternative plan.

  3. Vitamixnuf Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 7:15 am #

    удалите,пожалуйста! .

  4. Carpetjpe Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 5:36 am #

    удалите,пожалуйста! .

  5. willfreeman555 Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 2:30 pm #

    Loudness always seems to overcome the facts and legislative discretion in California.

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