February 16, 2017   
More Prevention, Not More Jail Cells
We support cost-effective public safety solutions
I recently joined Claudia Jimenez of the Contra Costa Racial Justice Coalition and Jane Fischberg of Rubicon Programs to write an opinion column for the East Bay Times. 

We explain our opposition to the Sheriff's proposal to expand the West County jail and call for an end to the Sheriff's contract to incarcerate ICE detainees.    

Commentary: Contra Costa needs more prevention, not more jail cells

Contra Costa County needs greater investment in mental health treatment, job training, affordable housing, and youth services to help keep people from becoming incarcerated, not a larger West County jail.

Approving expensive new jail construction runs counter to the more fiscally responsible and humane strategy of investing greater resources in prevention and rehabilitation services. These cost-effective measures help keep people out of jail, reduce reoffending and improve public safety.

The recent 4-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors to spend $25 million in county funds and apply for $70 million from the state to add 416 high-security beds at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond comes at a time of budgetary uncertainty, with the county facing possible federal funding cutbacks from the new presidential administration.

The Prison Law Office, a well-respected nonprofit public interest law firm specializing in jail system reform, wrote to the Board of Supervisors  that "The county would better serve its population by expanding efforts to reduce the jail population instead of expanding the capacity of its jails."

We could not agree more ...  Click to read the  full Op-Ed here.  

Here's a news report  on the Board of Supervisor's recent vote.

The community has a chance to express opposition to this unwise jail expansion project  to the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC).  The BSCC is the state board which will decide which Counties get state funding for jail projects. 
Letters can be emailed to:  webmaster@bscc.ca.gov
Letters can be sent via U.S. Post to:
Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC)
2590 Venture Oaks Way Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95833

Please speak out in favor of policies that invest our tax dollars in effective prevention programs, not costly jail construction.
John Gioia
Supervisor, District One 
Contra Costa County 
11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D 
El Cerrito, CA  94530 
510-231-8686 Phone