JLUSA Statement from Los Angeles Campaign Coordinator Eunisses Hernandez on Major JusticeLA Campaign Progress

January 23, 2019

“Yesterday was a big day for the JusticeLA campaign as the LA County Civilian Oversight Commission — tasked with giving the community a stronger voice and boosting transparency and accountability within the Sheriff’s Department — unanimously voted to oppose the Mira Loma Women’s jail in Lancaster proposed by the LA County Board of Supervisors. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, also stated, ‘Mira Loma plan is dead. We will not be sending our women up there.’

We are pleased that the LA County Civilian Oversight Commission and the LA County Sheriff oppose the building of the Mira Loma women’s jail in Lancaster. The JusticeLA campaign has helped shift the narrative ensuring that all city agencies understand our primary message: “You can’t get well in a cell.” We need to invest funds in true care outside of cages and we need to hear from members of the Civilian Oversight Commission that they also oppose the mental health jail proposed by the LA County Board of Supervisors.

  • 70% of people in L.A. County jails suffer from mental health conditions; the majority of those locked up with conditions are Black people.
  • Studies show that people with mental health conditions worsen in jails.
  • For those who enter jail without a mental health issue, their chance of developing a condition doubles once they are in jail.

The LA County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to assess the shortage of mental health hospital beds, and step down beds for people transitioning out of mental health hospitals. This study comes during a crucial moment, where Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are debating whether or not to build a mental health jail. Building a mental health jail reinforces the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department position as the largest mental health provider in Los Angeles County. The LA County jail system is deplorably, the nation’s largest hospital for people with mental health needs.

As a member of the JusticeLA executive committee, JustLeadershipUSA, with our partners, remains in staunch opposition to both jails and we underscore the fact that jails exacerbate trauma for people with mental health needs.”

– Eunisses Hernandez, JustLeadershipUSA’s Los Angeles Campaign Coordinator

Monica Novoa

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