Los Angeles—On July 16, over 100 activists held a “no new prison” press conference and rally outside the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting. People, mostly youths, made public comments to the board to stop their plans to spend over $2 billion to build two new county jails. One is a 1,156-bed women’s jail called the “Women’s Village.” Another will replace the existing Men’s Central Jail with a new one that has high security mental-health cages in a tower. County sheriffs are in favor of these proposals because they provide prison guards for all L.A. County jails, whose budget is the largest in the world.
Some of the public comments and signs urged that L.A. County reject $100 million of state money to build prisons. Rather than caging people, grant the money to community-based organizations and alternative solutions. “Prisons create mental illness,” “Invest in life and welfare, not wars and prisons,” and “Jails break up family unity,” read some of the signs. Society needs to shift from mass incarceration to human programs for the mostly poor population, which is growing daily in today’s global economic capitalist crisis.