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  • Carolyn L. Baker

A Real Chance for Alternatives to Incarceration



In California, today is the last day to register, or re-register, to vote in the presidential primary election on March 3rd. It is also the last day to register to vote on important ballot measures. In Los Angeles, one of those is Measure R. Even if Measure R is outside of your region, please read on to see an important fight for comprehensive criminal justice reform in action.

The Board of State and Community Corrections has rated the capacity for the seven facilities within the Los Angeles jail system at 12,537 inmates. On average, the county jail is over capacity by 4,613 inmates. Measure R requires LA’s existing Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission to develop a Comprehensive Public Safety Reinvestment Plan which will include a study on the feasibility of reducing the county jail population. $3.5 billion previously expected to be spent on jail expansion will be redirected to mental health programs, youth centers and programs, and the Office of Re-entry and Diversion. LA’s Measure R also gives the Oversight Commission the authority to use its own members and staff to conduct investigations regarding complaints. I want to call attention to the importance of this Comprehensive Public Safety Reinvestment Plan. It calls for reinvestment of billions of jail system costs into and alternatives to arrest and incarceration for nonviolent crimes where mental health, substance abuse, and chronic homelessness are issues. Rather than jail expansion, it calls for reducing the jail population of mental health, drug dependent, chronically homeless individuals. It offers holistic mental health treatment and expands youth centers and programs.

A high-five to groups such as Reform LA Jails, Action LA 2020, Stand Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), and the Open Philanthropy Action Fund leading the support campaign for Yes on R. The Los Angeles Times just came out with this endorsement of Measure R. Measure R requires a majority vote on March 3rd. This opportunity is a chance to fight for comprehensive criminal justice reform. It is heartening to see this real chance for alternatives to incarceration. Thank you for subscribing to this email newsletter and sharing this journey.

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