On Monday June 29th, the LA County Board of Supervisors must realize the promise of a Care First vision for the county by aggressively funding the recommendations in the Alternatives to Incarceration Fund (ATI). This is a major turning point where Los Angeles has the opportunity to cut $1 billion of the Sheriff department’s budget which would tremendously reduce law enforcement budgets in order to reinvest funds to community development, education, health, and youth social programs.
Conversations about defunding the police and sheriff’s department and finding alternatives to incarceration were once deemed as radical, yet now the general public, media, and elected officials are having ongoing conversations about this important issue. This comes as a historic moment as there are currently millions of people uprising and calling out injustices by law enforcement and the mass incarceration of people of color.
In response Patrisse Cullors, Chair of Reform LA Jails issued the following statement:
“In Los Angeles we live in the 15th greatest economy in the world and the epicenter of police militarization, police homicide, deportation and mass incarceration. The thought of a fund that seeks an alternative to incarceration would also set a precedent of what change and justice should look like to our nation and the world. We know there is a major problem in our society when Los Angeles County spends over $3 billion dollars on policing and caging its own citizens
We applaud efforts of leadership and commitment to reinvest in our communities. Just a couple days ago LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis presented a motion to defund jail systems in favor of investments in community health and safety. This motion includes a plan to close the LA County Men’s Jail within the next year. We stand and support all efforts that seek to strengthen community and limit the racist policing and militarization we have been subjected to.
The national uprisings have worked to expose the deeply entrenched racism in our institutions and the fact that many will work hard to maintain supremacy over our lives. However, the biggest lesson of this moment is that we are not alone and there are millions of people committed to fight for transformative change. And we don’t plan to stop.
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