Groups holding rally Saturday against West County Detention facility expansion in Richmond

Opponents of the planned expansion of the West County Detention Facility have announced a rally for April 15:

‘Services Not Cells’ Campaign to Stop West County Jail Expansion Kicks Off

Contra Costa County cannot afford to spend general and reserve funds on jail expansions when local services need funding.

Richmond – This Saturday, April 15, 2017, community members, county immigration advocates, social justice workers and local unions are launching the Services Not Cells campaign to stop Contra Costa County from building more costly and unneeded jail cells.

The funds for these jail cells would come from county general and reserve funds, money that should be used for services and as protection against the next economic downturn. “Our community members should not have to be arrested in order to receive mental health services,” Youth Organizing Director for the RYSE Center, Jamileh Ebrahimi explained. “We need funding for preventative programs, to keep residents out of prison in the first place.” She went on to say, “ Contra Costa communities need funding for preventative services like opportunities for youth, health care and mental health clinics, not more jail cells.”

Contra Costa’s Sheriff Department collaborates with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and is paid $82/day per detainee. One reason the county wants to build more jail cells is to create more space for ICE detainees. “Residents of Contra Costa do not feel comfortable reaching out for law enforcement help in the current climate of ICE collaboration,” Tamisha Walker from the Safe Return Project said. “Our county is an extremely diverse place and we need to work to make sure all feel comfortable living and working here. The expansion of the West County Detention Center means more additional beds for ICE detainees.”

Who: Services Not Cells Coalition

What: Community engagement kick-off, where members from the Services Not Cells Coalition will speak about how Contra Costa needs to fund preventative services, not jail expansion. Members of the coalition and others will be available for media interviews, including those personally affected by the county’s collaboration with ICE, DREAMERs and other members of immigrant communities who will share their stories. Spanish translation will be provided.

When: Saturday, April 15, 2017, 11:00 am

Where: Richmond Recreational Complex Social Hall
3230 MacDonald Ave., Richmond, CA 94804

Services Not Cells Coalition is made up of ACCE, Contra Costa Racial Justice Coalition, SEIU Local 1021, SEIU Local 2015, California Nurses Association, RYSE Center, Ella Baker Center, Safe Return Project, RUBICON.

Chris Treadway