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In this issue:
  • Advocates voice concerns with $500 million for facility construction
  • San Francisco County holds hearing on bias in the justice system
  • CJCJ adult client gives back
Advocates voice concerns with $500 million for facility construction

Advocates ask California to invest in more programming space, not jail beds

On June 10, CJCJ and other groups from across the state gathered in Sacramento to raise concerns over $500 million in construction funding for new criminal justice facilities. 

Advocates from MILPA, Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, the Drug Policy Alliance, the ACLU of Northern California, and many other organizations, called for revisions to the request for proposal (RFP) for the funding, which will be distributed by the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC).

Senate Bill 863, the legislation that provided this funding, focuses on programming space and alternatives to secure facilities. However, advocates worry that some counties may use the funds to simply expand their jails or build new ones.

Concerned that the RFP failed to recognize the intentions of SB 863, CJCJ and other advocates gathered before the BSCC, asking the Board to strengthen the RFP’s language and to close loopholes that might allow counties to expand jails without providing programming space. 

Advocates also asked that the RFP more clearly require counties to include cost projections and staffing plans for the proposed facilities. These projections would allow both the Board and impacted communities to understand the long-term financial commitments for these projects. 

Learn more about CJCJ’s jail expansion concerns»

San Francisco County holds hearing on bias in the justice system

CJCJ’s Lizzie Buchen testifies on inadequate police department data collection

Among the representatives who testified at this hearing, including the SFPD, the Public Defender’s Office, and the ACLU, CJCJ’s Lizzie Buchen informed board members of SFPD’s chronic lack of transparency and inaccurate data collection. Amidst incidents of racial profiling and discrimination by law enforcement — including racist and homophobic texts sent by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) — the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors held a hearing on June 18 to address the bias in San Francisco’s justice system. 

SFPD is the only police department in California that does not report arrest data for Latino citizens. Though the category exists, San Francisco police officers designate Latino people as white or sometimes as other”. The department agreed to change this practice by 2013, however, SFPD data shows officers arrested zero Latino people that year. 

Previous CJCJ studies have found racial disparities in the arrests made by SFPD to be the worst in the state. As Lizzie Buchen testified, It’s very likely the disparities that we’ve found would be even larger if there was not this conflation of racial categories.” 

Lizzie Buchen also noted that the SFPD has acknowledged underreporting arrest data of all races for several years, failing to include thousands of arrest records, yet has neglected to correct the errors. Accurate data collection is critical for providing government transparency and accountability,” she said. 

Read CJCJ’s 2015 fact sheet on San Francisco’s racial disparities in arrests »

Read CJCJ’s 2012 report on racial disparities in arrests for drug felonies »

CJCJ adult client gives back

After 40 years in prison, Linda Candelaria is making up for lost time.

Linda Candelaria has graduated from CJCJ’s No Violance Alliance (NoVA)program after two years with the agency. After spending 40 years incarcerated in three different prisons, Linda met case manager Patsy Jackson who helped her enroll with CJCJ.

As my longest client, I’ve watched her grow tremendously and become an independent woman who takes care of her mom,” says Patsy. I’m very proud.”

It took eight months for Linda to receive her employment paperwork, so during that time she volunteered at CJCJ, manning the front desk, maintaining the office, speaking at the San Francisco Reentry Council and Project Homeless Connect, and participating in groups with other clients. 

Linda represents what is possible when a second chance and a level playing field are provided,” says Director of Community-Based Services, Gerald Miller. 

Because of how much the world has changed while she was incarcerated, Linda had to deal with many changes. I had little setbacks, but I never let that get in my way,” she says. If you want something, you work for it and just don’t give up.” 

Linda now has a job, a home, and has been reunited with her family. She also volunteers at a local lifer’s program because she wants to give back to the community and help other people undergoing similar experiences. 

I’m out here for a reason,” she says. 

Learn more about CJCJ’s direct service programs »