Coalition Announced Los Angeles County Jail Action Monday, Urging ‘Budget Justice, Decarceration, Jail Closure and Youth Justice’

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By The Vanguard 

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Re-Imagine LA Coalition, the Justice LA Coalition, and youth justice advocates are among the groups who have announced they will attend the Los Angeles Board of Superiors meeting Monday, June 26, to “demand a Care First budget and investment in vital community services.”

In a statement issued Friday, the groups’ demands include closing the Men’s Central Jail by March 2025 with a concrete timeline, reducing the jail population to less than 8,500 people, allocating $275 million for mental-health treatment beds, halting the allocation of $22 million to Probation Department’s Pretrial Services Bureau, fully funding Care First Community Investment by allocating at least $900 million in funding from the County budget yearly—funded by leveraging dollars from CFCI and other local, state, and federal resources, funding Youth Justice Reimagined by shifting a minimum of $75 million out of probation and committing to building the Care First Vision through participatory budgeting.

Megan Castillo, Policy and Advocacy Manager at La Defensa, and Coordinator of the Re-Imagine LA Coalition, said Friday, “We are mobilizing to the Board…to send them a clear message: they have failed to adequately fund a budget that actually puts Care First.”

Castillo added, “The inadequate investment—which has resulted in 24 deaths in just 25 weeks in the LA County jail system—is certainly the responsibility of the Board. This budget cycle is an opportunity to course correct. We deserve a budget that represents our values—we MUST end this urgent human rights tragedy unfolding before our eyes.”

Janet Asante, Media Coordinator, Justice LA, shares, “Fifty percent of the LA County jail population is pretrial as of June 22… Vera California recently released a report surveying County service providers and found that of the $110 million that we’ve demanded the County allocate to pretrial services, most would be best served funding case management and service providers who can conduct needs assessments.

“Rather than investing in failed probation-led pretrial programs like PREP (Pretrial Release Evaluation Program), the County should be bold and innovative to meet the needs of our most vulnerable,” added Asante.

Jahzara Halliday, Youth Justice Coalition Youth Organizer, charged, “Probation never did anything for me but cause more pain and trauma. L.A. County is wasting over $850,000 per year to incarcerate one young person—we need the Board to keep its promise and invest in Youth Justice Reimagined and the Department of Youth Development instead of funding $416 million to lock up young people like myself.”

Other partners for this action include the California Native Vote Project, (spokespeople available for comment), and ACLU of Southern California.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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