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In this issue:

CJCJ helps spread holiday cheer

CJCJ provides food, gifts, and music for justice-involved families

The holidays can be bittersweet for people who are incarcerated, who are unable to enjoy big family meals or open gifts with their loved ones. Even for those who are not incarcerated, being involved with the justice system adds stress and worry to the holidays — and too many justice-involved people come from families who were already struggling to begin with.

At CJCJ, we try to make the holidays a little brighter for those we serve. In addition to serving as a distribution center for food boxes (provided by the San Francisco Food Bank) to people leaving San Francisco jail, our juvenile justice programs delivered groceries for 15 turkey meals to clients’ families.

Finally, it wouldn’t be the holidays without music! Our Children’s Waiting Room staff supported the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department for their annual Bread and Rosesconcert at the Hall of Justice jail, featuring the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Nearly 100 incarcerated people joined for the show. Check out our blog in the new year for the final rundown of our holiday activities!

Executive Director Dan Macallair offers expertise on new justice show

Macallair joins SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi to discuss pretrial reform

Dan on Justice Matters In California, two-thirds of people in county jails are not incarcerated because they’ve been convicted of a crime — rather, they are held while they wait for their trial, sometimes for months or even years. While some are detained because they are thought to pose a risk to public safety, the majority are simply too poor to post bail. This unnecessary incarceration makes it difficult for people to keep their jobs, stay in school, and care for their families while they await their day in court, and is a major driver of overcrowding in California jails.

On December 12, CJCJ Executive Director Dan Macallair appeared on a new show from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Justice Matters,” to discuss the bail system with Public Defender Jeff Adachi, a representative of the bail industry, and a researcher with the Public Policy Institute of California. 

Watch the show »

Read about the commercial bail industry » 

Read about alternatives to monetary bail »

CJCJ fights for rights of children visiting incarcerated parents

New prison proposal would permit strip searches for children

For the more than 2.7 million children in the United States with an incarcerated parent, the holiday season brings a poignant mixture of torment and joy,” writes CJCJ Deputy Director Dinky Enty in a December 23 op-ed in the Chronicle of Social Change. The love and connection a visit can bring are tempered by the fear of driving past razor wire, passing through metal detectors, and being subjected to the scrutiny of uniformed guards.”

Now, new proposed regulations may make the already stressful situation far worse. Under the regulations, visitors will be subjected to canine searches and, upon a positive alert (which are notoriously unreliable), must submit to a strip search or else forgo the visit. The regulations make no exception for children. 

CJCJ and other organizations are working to block the proposed changes, submitting letters to the CDCR outlining our serious concerns, in addition to Enty’s op-ed. Follow CJCJ on Facebook and Twitter to learn how to join the fight. 

Read more at the Chronicle of Social Change »