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Alternatives to Being Locked in the Torture Box that is the Sacramento County Jail System

At the 5/11/22 Sacramento County Board of Supervisors meeting, we heard all about alternatives to incarceration. Did you think we were gonna say it was from our homies, Decarcerate Sac? If you did, you are wrong… it was actually from the County’s own Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB, pronounced “P-Hab”).

PHAB been working over the past year to come up with recommendations they say will improve public health outcomes for peeps experiencing incarceration. It’s really quite simple: move people out of jail and into housing and mental health services. Ain’t this what we been sayin all along tho?

The majority of individuals incarcerated in Sacramento County jails (4/5ths) have not been convicted of a damn thing and are awaiting trial. Over half of those peeps have mental health challenges. Sadly, these stats are on par with the rest of the country, using incarceration as a substitute for a behavioral healthcare facility.

Don’t forget that the current mental health services offered in Sacramento County’s jails are under a federal consent decree for failing to provide constitutionally required mental health and medical care to people in the jail, employing harsh and extreme forms of solitary confinement, failing to implement essential suicide prevention measures, and discriminating against people with disabilities.

Guess the Supes don’t know that adage about if you keep doing what you’ve always done you’re gonna keep getting what you always got…

The very first recommendation that PHAB makes to reduce the jail population is for the Supes to fully fund the Public Defender’s Pretrial Support Program. They didn’t say defund Probation’s pretrial program; they simply said that the Public Defender’s pretrial program has so much untapped potential to accomplish great outcomes at a fraction of the cost that Probation demands. That’s all it took for Supervisor Serna to get it twisted…

They do more than simply surveil and jail

Serna gots mad love for Probation

Prioritizing funding for what is referred to as the three-legged stool - housing, mental health treatment, and substance abuse services - can divert our most vulnerable residents from being incarcerated in the first place.

By investing in transitional, rehabilitative, and permanent housing, while building more capacity for supportive and treatment services, we can increase the safety of our community while reducing the jail population. Let’s see if the Supes act on these recommendations when budget hearings start on June 7th.

We got some dope homies holding a press conference in the morning before that first budget hearing to demand that the Supes prioritize funding for community-based care. And as usual, stay plugged in to SJPC for all the budget deets!

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