Dozens of community activists rallied outside of San Francisco City Hall on Oct. 22, urging city supervisors to speed up the closure of the jail at the city’s Hall of Justice.
Additionally, the group, No New SF Jail Coalition, is asking supervisors to instead of building a new jail, invest the funds into community resources that would keep people out of jail.
In 2016, supervisors rejected an $80 million state grant for the construction of a new jail and instead created a work group to identify alternatives to incarceration.
Juliana Morris, with Do No Harm Coalition, a group consisting of health workers, said, “We see the current policing and incarceration in our communities as a major health crisis and believe strongly that resources need to be redirected to support housing, community programs, mental health services and other health services.”
Janetta Johnson with the Transgender Intersex Justice Project, said, “San Francisco talks about being creative and innovative and a leader in all these things, well this is one of the most important and amazing things that we can do. We need alternatives to jails and prisons.”
Located at 850 Bryant St., the Hall of Justice serves as a courthouse and houses the District Attorney’s Office, in addition to the jail and other city departments. Supervisors have set plans in motion to empty the building and eventually demolish it.
The 1950s building has been called seismically unsafe and dilapidated by many, including Mayor London Breed. Additionally, it has been plagued with well-documented sewage problems and alleged rodent infestations.
According to the coalition, the building’s shortfalls are putting the health and lives of those incarcerated at risk.
Story originally published by Bay City News.