JusticeLA Statement on L.A. County’s Horrific Conditions at Inmate Reception Center

Janet Asante, (310) 722-1474

ACLU Sounds Alarm on L.A. County’s Horrific Conditions at Inmate Reception Center

For decades the community has voiced outrage at the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s (LASD) continued negligence and cruelty in the L.A. County jail system. What were already abhorrent conditions have now become torturous camps for abuse and inhumanity, and that is made apparent by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Southern California’s court filing today. JusticeLA is calling on the County Board of Supervisors to recognize that this horrifying reality is a direct result of the Board’s inaction to close Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) and fund supportive pathways out of jail. 

The ACLU’s filing named a litany of human rights violations including people with serious mental illness being chained to chairs for days at a time, sleeping sitting up, dozens of people crammed together sleeping head-to-foot on the hard concrete floor, and people defecating in trash cans and urinating on the floor or in empty food containers in shared spaces. The filing underlines the County’s failures to provide adequate health care, including failure to provide people with serious mental illness or chronic medical conditions their medications, or to provide care to people dangerously detoxing from drugs and alcohol. JusticeLA continues our demand for the County to fund at least 3600 mental health beds that will bring our most vulnerable community members out of jail and into adequate care. 

Lives are on the line. In-custody deaths at the watch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department saw a dramatic rise to 55 deaths in 2021 — the highest when compared to every year since 2013. Two people have already died at the Inmate Reception Center this year. 

Helen Jones, Community Organizer with Dignity and Power NOW and JusticeLA says, “MCJ should have been closed over 30 years ago. Many families no longer see this as a jail but see MCJ as a memorial for our children, our family members, and our community members whose lives have been stolen inside this cement slave ship. We have to have vigils on the streets even though our children and families have died inside.” 

James Nelson, Campaign and Organizing Manager at Dignity & Power NOW recalls, “I was inside of MCJ in 1984 and the living conditions and medical care were horrible then, and are now far worse. I am in total support of the closure of Men’s Central Jail with no new jails in its place.” 

 Lex Stepping, National Director of Campaigns and Organizing at Dignity & Power NOW states, “The Board of Supervisors has known of this crisis for years. They agreed to close MCJ with no new jails a long time ago. People are dying at a record rate. It’s a humanitarian crisis happening on their watch and no jail can fix it. We all remember the promise of twin towers and all we got was another death trap and torture chamber. Honor the agreements and close MCJ while investing in the Care First vision. Crime goes down when jails are closed. The Board knows this and we know this. Close MCJ.” 


About the JusticeLA Coalition:

JusticeLA is a partnership of grassroots organizations, advocates, directly impacted communities, and stakeholders to reduce the footprint of incarceration by stopping jail expansion and reclaiming, reimagining and reinvesting dollars away from incarceration and into community-based systems of care. 


JusticeLA Town Hall Calls on White People to Step Up on Prison Reform

JusticeLA Town Hall Calls on White People to Step Up on Prison Reform

Unabridged transcript of a speech given at the Justice LA Town Hall at Hollywood United Methodist Church on January 11, 2018.

The task before us, as white people of conscience, is to mobilize other white folks into taking anti-racist action and to dismantle the white supremacist system that is crushing all of us. To be clear, we are not just talking about the brand of white supremacy touted by people who wear white hoods and the alt-right, or people who cover themselves in swastika tattoos. It is the white supremacist system that created the racial divide, and awarded white people both material and psychic benefits, causing us to distance ourselves from aligning with people of color to challenge power structures that oppress all of us. This centuries old scheme has allowed white people to support “law and order” policies that devastate poor white communities and communities of color. The law and order policies, under the guise of public safety, served to indoctrinate the vast majority of white people into a culture that supports and promotes incarceration as the tool to solve all of our social problems. What does it say of our county’s character if we value criminalizing mental health issues, poverty, and public health issues that stand to result in the need to expand jails instead of investing in the health of our community members; that building jails is a better investment than building schools; that building jails is a better investment than providing mental health care and substance abuse treatment services. Lastly, that building jails is more worthy of our tax dollars, than providing everyone with access to healthcare, affordable housing, education, and job training programs. All this to promote the illusion of public safety. But who defines public safety? Have you felt safer with each jail that has been constructed in California?

The trajectory of covert racism since the gains of the civil rights movement has allowed the white majority to submit to a brand of dog whistle politics that is responsible for gutting our social safety net programs, and increased our investment in the war on drugs…we tacitly accept a public health issue turned into a criminal justice issue…we tacitly accept criminalizing poverty and creating a culture where Black and Brown bodies are pathologized, demonized, and dehumanized. I think it’s important to note that we are only now seeing a shift in public opinion on harsh drug laws, not coincidentally, has this shift only occurred with the ongoing opioid crisis that has largely impacted white communities across the country.

It is with this in mind, that we, as white people of conscience, must force a change of course, and move away from normalizing the investment in jails and divestment in communities. We must put an end to racist policies and coded language that is used to justify locking people in cages instead of providing the social support needed for people who are struggling to survive. It is up to us to say we will not stand idly by and allow billions of our tax dollars to go toward incarceration, only to lock people out of society upon release, effectively being destined to second class citizenship thereafter.

We, as white people, must create the consciousness shift in millions of fellow white people in Los Angeles and across America — to say that we will no longer collude with the fragmentation that this white supremacist system has created. We will all benefit when our solidarity is strong, when we interrupt those who sow divisions based on race, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability. When we recognize that our liberation is bound together…that the weight of oppressive systems will only be broken when we act. When we act together. It is time to bring an end to jail expansion in Los Angeles county and beyond. To all who care about justice, this is your issue. We must lay the groundwork to defeat all manifestations of racism in this country, with the expansion of the prison industrial complex being an egregious example of that which must be stopped.

As white people, we must demand that our county and our country do better than this. It is time that we reevaluate our priorities and our values that allow white people to feel an investment in jails is worthy over an investment in life. Let us together reimagine what a world free of cages could look like. If you had $3.5 Billion to solve pressing issues in Los Angeles County, how would you use it?

Please sign the Justice LA petition to demand the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors redirects jail expansion funds. For more ways to take action, follow the campaign on @justiceLAnow on social media platforms.

Dahlia Ferlito is a co-founder of White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL), a white anti-racist collective and activist project of the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere (AWARE-LA); WP4BL operates within a national network of white anti-racists called Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and is rooted in acting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles.


Op-Ed: JusticeLA Fights LA County’s Jail Expansion Plan

Op-Ed: JusticeLA Fights LA County’s Jail Expansion Plan

By Jason David, White People 4 Black Lives

Jason David is co-founder of AWARE-LA, an all-volunteer grassroots racial justice organization of white anti-racists working to challenge racism in transformative alliance with people of color. White People 4 Black Lives is the organizing wing of AWARE-LA.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a jail expansion plan that will cost an estimated $3.5 billion. That is an extraordinary amount of money to waste on the caging of human beings, especially when we can invest those resources into providing greater access to affordable housing, jobs, health care, public education, and healthy food — critical elements that serve human needs and prove not only impactful on lowering recidivism rates, but promise far greater safety for all in the long run.

People of color, especially black people, who are disproportionately targeted and devastated by our current commitment to mass incarceration, have been fighting on behalf of their own well-being and the safety of their families and communities. It is time that white people, and especially wealthy and middle-class white people, see that the fight against mass incarceration and criminal injustice is our fight as well.

As Ibram Kendi points out so poignantly in his definitive history of racist thinking in the United States, Stamped From the Beginning, dominant groups don’t actively perpetuate or passively support oppressive systems primarily because of hatred or ignorance — we do so because we believe those systems ultimately benefit us and we have internalized racist ideas that justify inequities. I can admit that my own perception has been severely distorted when it comes to crime and safety, and for too long I have internalized negative portrayals of people of color as dangerous and believed “tough on crime” policies coupled with the punishment of isolation has made me safer.

It is a tough pill to swallow when we have to analyze the ways in which we conform to the very ideas and institutions we adamantly oppose. We do, however, have an opportunity — urgent and time-sensitive — to act in solidarity with communities directly impacted by discriminatory and dehumanizing jail systems.

Los Angeles County already has the largest jail system in the world. On average, there are 17,500 prisoners in the county jail system on any given day and 80% of them are Black or Latino. This county also has the harshest bail system in the United States. Just over half of the L.A. County jail population has yet to stand trial or be sentenced for a crime, primarily due to the fact that people cannot pay for high bail amounts. Research shows that people with mental health conditions inevitably get worse in jails. The chances of developing a mental health condition for people with no previous history of mental health issues doubles once they are incarcerated.

We know that incarceration doesn’t rehabilitate and that the vast majority of people behind bars are there for non-violent drug offenses and criminalized behaviors reflective of poverty, such as not affording bail, inability to pay debts incurred via penalties and fines for infractions, and a slew of laws targeting homeless people. This is why California voters have signaled a clear shift away from incarceration and toward alternatives to sentencing, such as passing Propositions 47 (reduced penalties for some crimes), 36 (drug treatment instead of jail), and 57 (early release for non-violent offenses). Unfortunately, much of the money earmarked for diversion are funneled into the Sheriff’s Department and are not used to advance the true spirit and aim of the propositions. This highlights the need to sustain our civic engagement and build a powerful base of support after we step outside of the voting booth.

So why do we still build jails? Why do we still lock millions of people behind bars?

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has stated that slavery did not end, it merely evolved. He traces a line of racial terror through United States history connecting slavery, lynching, segregation and mass incarceration. Michelle Alexander, a civil rights attorney and author of The New Jim Crow, frames a powerful argument with well-researched statistics and a thorough examination of laws and political trends that posits mass incarceration as merely the revamped version of segregation — a system for disenfranchising the black community under legal auspices. Ava DuVernay’s brilliant documentary 13th builds on these arguments and traces a haunting chronology through United States history, in which slavery was never actually abolished but instead kept alive through a constitutional loophole and deceptive projects such as the War on Drugs.

This framing of the problem before us has significant implications for the role we as white people play in relationship to the presence of — and plans to expand — jail systems.

Perhaps just as significant as the actions of enslavers, lynchers, rabid segregationists, and lobbyists for the prison industry are the everyday acts of complicity and complacency by white and wealthy people who, for many reasons, think these systems are justified in some way, think these systems don’t directly affect us, or think that we cannot do something to change such an overbearing problem. It has largely been the passive acceptance and permission of white people that has allowed for violent atrocities and acts of oppression to be systemically enacted on people of color.

I recently heard Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, speak to the ways in which black people have carried the struggle for racial justice for centuries. And ultimately, Coates suggested, it will be on white people to set “a standard” for ourselves. Just as certain brave — albeit far from perfect — white abolitionists challenged the young nation’s behemoth economic engine of slavery because of its brutal inhumanity, we white people are called upon again to take action against the current manifestation of that system which we must still see as a violation of our most basic standards of human decency.

Many of us who are concerned about mass incarceration tend to feel like the problem is so massive or so far beyond our reach that we cannot do anything to change it. On the other hand, our voice is critical not just in opposing prison and jail expansion projects, but in calling for diversion programs and services that can be located in our very own communities. In fact, it is so often because we prefer to cast away those so easily maligned and quickly labeled problems or threats to the community that we throw our implicit support behind what has become a carceral state — a vast network of jails and prisons that has grown steadily despite reductions in crime and risen in priority as investment in education has dropped.

Because of these startling realities and this haunting history, I have joined a powerful new coalition looking to halt this jail expansion project and reinvest the money in community well-being. JusticeLA represents a number of grassroots organizations and grounds its work in the lives, voices, and aspirations of individuals and families directly impacted by incarceration. I will be joining them on January 11th for a town hall meeting at the Hollywood United Methodist Church at 7pm and I encourage you to join me.


#JailBedDrop Reminds Angelinos of Those Incarcerated During Holiday Season

#JailBedDrop Reminds Angelinos of Those Incarcerated During Holiday Season

Twas’ the morning before Christmas and JusticeLA and L.A. area artists collaborated to place over 50 jail beds throughout L.A. County as a reminder of the thousands of people incarcerated in L.A. County jails during the holiday season.  Kicking off #JailBedDrop, JusticeLA co-founder Patrisse Cullors joined new media artist Jasmine Nyende in the historic Los Angeles African American community of Baldwin Hills at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvds. in an effort to remind Angelinos getting in their last day of shopping before the Christmas holiday that for millions of people in America and thousands in L.A. County, Christmas will be spent in a jail cell and without their families loved ones simply because they are poor and cannot afford the high cost of bail.  The jail beds are also being used to further the conversation around the County’s decision to invest $3.5 billion dollars into expanding the world’s largest jail system instead of community-based alternatives to incarceration.

“Los Angeles County is embarking on one of the largest jail construction projects in the history of jails and prisons,” said JusticeLA co-founder Patrisse Cullors.  “JusticeLA has come together in our latest art action to highlight those who are most impacted by incarceration over the holidays. This holiday season millions of incarcerated people won’t see loved ones, enjoy a holiday dinner with family or spend time with their children.  Instead they will sit in a jail cell.  This jail bed action is to reminder to all of this holiday season about what we should be investing in and that is community-based alternatives to jails that keep families together.”

JusticeLA advocates for funding to go into community-based alternatives and not jails to address the communities with the highest rates of imprisonment.  Those communities tend to be primarily poor and working class communities of color that are also disproportionately high in unemployment, home foreclosures, school cutbacks, inadequate access to healthcare and lower-than- average life expectancies.

New media artist Jasmine Nyende added, “This project is about showing love and compassion to my family. Our community has been separated, caged and sold off for generations.  I hope this bed inspires people to write and think of their loved ones in prison or jail.”

In addition to Baldwin Hills, jail beds were placed in over 50 other locations by local artists throughout Los Angeles County including Inglewood, Compton, Palmdale, Lancaster, San Fernando Valley, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach. Each artist worked with different topics around incarceration including mental illness, women, People of Color, youth, LGBTQ and more.

Follow the #JailBedDrop on Instagram!

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“This project provided a way for me to express my feelings about the prison industrial complex from the perspective of a loved one,” explained Cole James, one of of the featured artists whose jail bed is on display in Carson at the South Bay Pavillion.  “The loss, longing and destruction caused by the system of penitentiaries extends far beyond their bars. It is shredding the happiness of families.”

Artist Qwazi added, “My brother is an inmate at Wasco State Prison. A brother’s bond is unexplainable, but the distance set between us is fully tangible. The thin glass that separates our conversation is endless and the anxiety of it gets the best of both of us. His children will be teenagers the next time they hold and hug their father and I will be in my 40’s when I can finally have a beer with my brother. I am not proud of the reasons for which he is there, but I do know he needs rehab instead of incarceration. I fear he will lose his humanity and loving heart in a place so lonely and dark. My feelings of helplessness grow daily and my heart has been heavy since the day he was arrested. This was an opportunity for me to express the oppression which has been laid upon my brother and myself.”

Qwazi’s jail bed will be on display in South Gate at the Azalea Regional Shopping Center.

Alabama native, Ciara Green is a self-taught artist and a business owner who fosters her craft in Los Angeles. Her brother Dewey has been wrongfully serving a sentence of life without parole at Smith State Prison in Georgia since 2015. During his time there he has written her many letters of which excerpts have been taken to be used as a part of her jail bed project on display in Beverly Hills. Ciara says the words that are harsh and painful to read, but it is the reality of those who are incarcerated.

“This bed represents an innocent man in prison,” said Ciara Green.  “A man who is serving a life without parole sentence for having a seizure while driving and accidentally killing someone. This bed represents our justice system in America failing us. This bed represents a man who at the age of 23 had his entire life stolen from him because of a medical condition. This bed represents my brother. This bed represents the lives who have been wrongfully incarcerated.”

In L.A. County, 40 percent of female inmates are Latino while 32 percent are Black. The men’s facilities’ population is currently 50% Latino and 30% Black – over 80% people of color. While Black people make up less than 9% of L.A. County’s population, they are almost a third of the county jail population. The most impacted districts in L.A. County are Districts 1 & 2 represented by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas and encompassing the larger areas of East L.A. and South L.A.—neighborhoods that are predominantly low-income/working class, migrant, Black and Latino. More than half of those imprisoned have not been convicted of a crime and cannot afford bail.

In September, JusticeLA launched their campaign to fight back against the L.A. County Board of Supervisors plan to spend $3.5 billion on jail construction and expansion by coordinating the largest display of jail beds ever used in a demonstration when the set up 100 jail beds in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.

To follow and see all of the artists and their jail beds on display Christmas Eve, follow @JusticeLANow on social media and the hashtag #jailbeddrop.


Locations (in alphabetical order by City)

Agoura Hills
Whizin Market Square
28914 Roadside Dr, Agoura Hills
Artist: Bea Lamar

Alhambra Place
100 East Main St., Alhambra
Artist: Maytha Alhassen

LGBT Center of San Gabriel
2607 S Santa Anita Ave., Arcadia
Artist: David Chen

Westfield Santa Anita
400 S Baldwin Ave., Arcadia
Artist: Ana Carolina Estarita Guerrero (as Guadalupe Bermúdez)

Edgewood Shopping Center
153 E Gladstone St., Azusa
Artist: Micol Hebron

Baldwin Park
Police Station
14403 Pacific Ave., Baldwin Park
Artist: Kevin Flores

Bell Shopping Center
5029 E Florence Ave., Bell
Artist: Brandon Thomas

Intersection of Bellflower Blvd. and Belmont St.
Artist: Cinthia Marisol Lozano

Beverly Hills
Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way
Artist: Ciara Green

Boyle Heights
Mariachi Plaza
730 Pleasant Ave, Boyle Heights
Artists: Brittany Estrada and Nelly Zagury

Calabasas Commons
4799 Commons Way, Calabasas
Artist: Bea Lamar

South Bay Pavilion
Near Target
20700 S Avalon Blvd., Carson
Artist: Cole James

Cerritos Station – Sheriff’s Department
18135 Bloomfield Ave, Cerritos
Artist: Julio Trejo

Intersection of Willowbrook Ave. and Compton Blvd.
Artist: Ana Ruth Castillo

Culver City
Veterans Memorial Park
4177 Overland Ave., Culver City
Artist: Josh Sugiyama

Stonewood Mall
251 Stonewood St., Downey
Artist: Mariella Saba

Downtown Los Angeles
Main St. between Temple St. and Aliso St.
Artist: Kim Robertson

Downtown Los Angeles
Fig and 7th
Artist: Matt Miyahara

Downtown Los Angeles
Little Tokyo
2nd St. and San Pedro Ave.
Artist: Tazer

Downtown Los Angeles
Little Tokyo Galleria
333 S Alameda St.
Artist: Alan Glover

Downtown Los Angeles
Twin Towers Correctional Facility
450 Bauchet St, Los Angeles
Artist: Giancarlos Campos

El Monte
Intersection of Santa Anita and Valley
Artist: Martina Aguilar

Lone Hill Shopping Center
1836 E Rte 66 Glendora
Artist: Shannon Pollak

Intersection of Hawthorne Blvd. and El Segundo Blvd.
Artist: Michael Massenburg

Hermosa Beach
Plaza Hermosa
715 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach
Artist: Anna Evans-Goldstein

Hollywood United Methodist Church
6817 Franklin Ave, Hollywood
Artist: Anna Mkhikian

Huntington Park
Intersection of Pacific Blvd. and Gage Ave.
Artist: Austin Fenton

Inglewood Park Cemetery
720 E Florence Ave., Inglewood
Artist: Tyler Hicks

Intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Century Blvd.
Artist: Rosie Shields

Lakewood Mall
500 Lakewood Center Mall, Lakewood
Artist: Ayesha Waraich

Mira Loma Detention Center
45100 60th St W, Lancaster
Artist: Michelle Navarrete

Larchmont Ave. between 1st St. and Beverly Blvd.
Artist: Dwora Fried

Alondra Park
850 W. Manhattan Beach Blvd., Lawndale
Artist: Tracee Johnson

Lincoln Heights
Former Lincoln Heights Jail
421 N Ave 19, Lincoln Heights
Artist: Gabriel Gutierrez
Long Beach
Long Beach Pike
95 S Pine Ave., Long Beach
Artist: Joe Miramontes

Los Angeles – South
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall
3650 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Baldwin Hills
Artist: Jasmine Nyende

Los Angeles – UCLA
Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden – Hammer Museum
245 Charles E Young Dr E, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Artists: Isabella and Ben

Los Angeles – Westside
Beverly Center
Beverly and La Cienega
Artist: Andre Simmons

Plaza Mexico
3100 E Imperial Hwy., Lynwood
Artists: Marlene Tafoya and Cindy Vallejo

Malibu Country Mart
3835 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu
Artist: Todd Bank

Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Village Shopping Center
3200 N Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach
Artist: Brianna Mims

Monrovia Shopping Center
300 W Huntington Dr., Monrovia
Artist: Yasamin Safarzadeh

Montebello Mall
2134 Montebello Town Center, Montebello
Artist: Joel Garcia

Norwalk Town Square
11633 The Plaza, Norwalk
Artist: Aida Ghorbani

Antelope Valley Mall
1233 Rancho Vista Blvd., Palmdale
Artist: Samuel Mokelu

Paramount Park Plaza Shopping Center
8540 Alondra Blvd., Paramount
Artist: Gloria Sanchez

Paseo Colorado
300 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Artists: Tim and Rachel

Rancho Palos Verdes
Artists: Asli Semizoglu and Asli Tusavul

Redondo Beach
South Bay Galleria
1815 Hawthorne Blvd., Redondo Beach
Artist: Maya Mackrandilal

Rosemead Place Shopping Center
3500 Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead
Artist: Mark x Farina

San Fernando
San Fernando Mall
1021 San Fernando Rd., San Fernando
Artist: Irina Contreras

San Fernando
Intersection of San Fernando Rd at Magnolia Ave.
Artist: Sheila Pinkel

Santa Clarita
The Plaza at Golden Valley
19001-19415 Golden Valley Rd., Santa Clarita
Artist: Joe Galarza

Santa Monica
Third Street Promenade
Downtown Santa Monica
Artist: Claudia Borgna

South Gate
Azalea Regional Shopping Center
4635 Firestone Blvd., South Gate
Artist: Qwazi

South Pasadena
Main Shopping Street near Gold line station
Artist: Mary-Linn and Reginald

Del Amo Fashion Center
3525 W Carson St., Torrance
Artist: Kingsley Ume

Westlake Village
Village at Westlake
Artist: Todd Bank

West Covina
West Covina Mall
112 Plaza Dr., West Covina
Artist: Graciela Lopez

West Hollywood
Melrose and Crescent Heights, West Hollywood
Artist: Chandra Anderson

Quad at Whittier
13502 Whittier Blvd., Whittier
Artist: Andrea Castillo


Follow @JusticeLANow and #JailBedDrop on Social Media for the latest



[WATCH] Three People Die Within A Month in L.A. Jails

People are dying in Los Angeles jails. We don’t need new jails in L.A. What we need are community-based alternatives.


Following Third Death in L.A. Jail, JusticeLA Announces Antelope Valley Town Hall Meeting

JusticeLA follows their ‘jail bed protest’ with  series of town hall meetings focused on fighting jail expansion plan

Los Angeles, CA – After the announcement of yet a third death in an L.A. jail within the span of a month, JusticeLA, a coalition of organizations challenging the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on their plans to spend $3.5 billion on two new jails, will hold a town hall meeting on Monday, October 23 in Antelope Valley to discuss their campaign to call on the County to redirect funds intended for new jails to community services and other alternatives to incarceration. The meeting follows JusticeLA’s campaign kickoff against the county’s jail expansion plan that saw 100 jail beds placed in front of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles.  The town hall meeting will be held on Monday, October 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Center for Spiritual Living in Lancaster (1030 W. Avenue L8).

“With all of the thousands of deputies and officers working in our jails with the sole job of watching inmates–while at the same time costing the citizens of Los Angeles County tens of millions of dollars each year–there’s absolutely no excuse for people to be dying in our county and city jails,” said JusticeLA co-founder Patrisse Cullors.  “More than half of the people in our jails are only there because they haven’t stood trial and cannot afford to pay the high bail.  The Board of Supervisors wants to take $3.5 billion and sink it into the same failed jail system instead of considering alternatives to incarceration.  That’s just ridiculous. There’s an old saying that goes ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’  Well it’s broke and we want to fix it.”

The third death was announced Monday by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner as being a 50-year-old man who was found unresponsive in his cell and died at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Metropolitan Detention Center over the weekend. Nineteens days earlier, two inmate deaths were reported two days apart at L.A. County Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.

In 2015, the Board of Supervisors approved a settlement with federal officials over allegations that sheriff’s officials systematically harassed minority residents in the Antelope Valley and targeted African Americans living in subsidized housing.  In 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ)  found that the Sheriff’s Department’s Lancaster and Palmdale stations, both of which are located in the Antelope Valley, engaged in a pattern or practice of stops, searches, and seizures and excessive force in violation of the Constitution and federal law.  In addition, the DOJ found a pattern of discrimination against African Americans in its enforcement of the Housing Choice Voucher Program in violation of the Fair Housing Act.  The settlement requires the Sheriff’s Department to comply with a series of rules on training, use of force and community engagement, and to be subjected to independent monitoring of its progress.

Long time Antelope Valley resident and former vice-chair of the Antelope Valley branch of the NAACP Waunette Cullors added, “The Antelope Valley is oftentimes forgotten by the Board of Supervisors and the Fifth District is underserved on so many levels.  African-Americans and people of color are the ones who suffer the most when we don’t invest in our communities. This town hall meeting is a chance to engage Antelope Valley residents in the possibility of reclaiming, reimagining and reinvesting in our youth and families in hopes of creating a future where we don’t need to spend billions of dollars on incarceration. As a community we should decide how to best utilize funds to better serve our community’s needs.”

The Antelope Valley town hall meeting is co-sponsored by: Paving the Way Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Antelope Valley chapter, Sun Village Women’s Club, The Way Center of Truth, Green Thumb Antelope Valley Youth Group, Serenity Village Developments, Antelope Valley League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Antelope Valley Building the Base Face to Face, California Africology Association, Stop Mass Incarceration and One Way Up.

JusticeLA will be holding town hall meetings around the County’s planned jail expansion in each of the five supervisorial districts.

For more information, please visit


Work with JusticeLA! Administrative Coordinator Job Opening

JusticeLA Administrative Coordinator Job Description (Part Time)

JusticeLA is seeking a highly organized, passionate person to serve as its Administrative Coordinator. This position will support the core team execute a yearlong, grassroots campaign in Los Angeles County. JusticeLA is a coalition of organizations and individuals seeking to stop Los Angeles County’s $3.5 billion jail expansion plan.

The coalition is committed to investing in the leadership of those most impacted by incarceration, people of color. Formerly incarcerated people, people who have family inside jails or prisons, women, queer and trans people are encouraged to apply. Your experience in prison or jail makes you an expert in this campaign.

The Administrative Coordinator will be responsible for providing campaign logistical support, including: managing email inquiries, scheduling meetings, tracking work plans, note taking, tracking expenses, updating documents, among other administrative duties. On any given day, the Administrative Coordinator’s responsibilities may include: researching and communicating with vendors, organizing volunteers for direct actions, mobilizing the broader coalition through e-mails, phone calls and text messages and attending coalition meetings.

  • Support the planning/implementation/evaluation of events and actions. You will be responsible for supporting JusticeLA organizers in executing local events and actions. This includes being in consistent communication with JusticeLA’s various workgroups; tracking tasks, spending, materials and volunteers for each action; forming detailed calendars, communicating deadlines with the team and sending out reminders; gathering survey data and compiling new member information when needed; and updating advocacy materials as changes occur.
  • Coordinate & support Justice LA coalition members. You’ll also be responsible for coordinating communication and strategic planning between the various JusticeLA member organizations and individuals. This includes sending out coalition emails, responding to inquiries about participation, and connecting volunteers to the appropriate workgroup.
  • Supporting JusticeLA’s infrastructure. You will work very closely with JusticeLA’s co-chairs to ensure that all workgroups are working in tandem and that milestones are achieved. You will be responsible for periodic financial reports, weekly check-ins, attending regular coalition phone and in person meetings, reserving meeting spaces, ordering food and supplies, creating and printing agendas and supporting with communications to ensure attendance and member engagement.
Skills and experience:
  •   Agreement with JusticeLA principles and strong commitment to racial and gender justice and inclusive practices.
  •   At least 2–3 years of administrative or grassroots organizing experience (or related experience).
  •   A strong self-starter with experience working independently.
  •   Coordination experience.  You’ll be working with a broad-based team of new and experienced organizers and will need to be ready to support their work and solve problems creatively.
  •   Strong writing and computer skills.
  •   Proven desire and experience working to improve the lives for marginalized and oppressed peoples. JusticeLA’s network is made up of a multiplicity of experiences and identities, including formerly incarcerated people, family members of people locked up, people of color, young people, queer people, trans people, activists, educators, and national supporters.
  •   Comfortable working flexible hours (including weekends and nights), working via phone and computer, and keeping in constant communication with colleagues.
  •   Proven follow-through and ability to see projects and activities through to completion.
  •   Fluent Spanish preferred (not required).

The position will be based in the Los Angeles County area.

To apply:

Please email the items listed below to Please put “Administrative Coordinator” in the subject line.

  1.     A cover letter explaining why you want the position and why you think you would be good for this role.
  2.     Resume. If you are directly impacted by incarceration and/or have organizing experience that is not shown in your resume, please tell us about it in your cover letter.
  3.     Three references. (with telephone number and email address)

Applications are due by Friday, October 13th.



JusticeLA’s Statement on Two Inmate Deaths in Two Days in L.A. County Men’s Central Jail

The following statement is from JusticeLA in response to announcement that there have been two inmate deaths in two days in L.A. County Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles:

“When someone is arrested and put in jail, their health and wellbeing falls into the hands of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  It’s unacceptable for anyone to die while in the custody of the Sheriff’s Department but to have two deaths in two days only proves our point that Los Angeles doesn’t need to build new jails–they can’t run the ones they have now without inmates constantly coming up dead on their watch.  The Los Angeles County jail is the nation’s largest and at least nine inmates have died this year on their watch and in their custody. Last year there were 20 inmate deaths reported, and in 2015, there were 21.

“When you factor in that 51% of the  L.A. County’s jail population has yet to stand trial and be sentenced for a crime–primarily due to the fact that people cannot pay for high bail amounts–it makes it that much more horrendous that inmates are dying are in our jails.

“With an ever increasing mental health population in the county’s jail system, we stand by our assertion that you can’t get well in a cell.  Instead of investing $3.5 billion in building new jails with even more sheriff’s deputies who can’t stop inmates from coming up dead–we need to be reinvesting that money back into the community-based alternatives to incarceration.”  


JusticeLA Kicks Off Campaign to End Jail Expansion in L.A. County

Campaign Against Jail Expansion in L.A. County By Bringing 100 Jail Beds to County Board of Supervisors Meeting

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors launches new campaign in Los Angeles to stop jail expansion

Over 200 activists with JusticeLA—wearing “L.A. County jail” orange colored shirts—set up 100 jail beds in front of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday ahead of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting. The beds represented the launch of JusticeLA’s campaign to stop the jail expansion and were intended to send a loud and clear message to the decision makers that JusticeLA opposes spending $3.5 billion on two new jails and supports re-investing that money back into the community. For over 6 hours traffic was diverted around Temple Street between Hill Street and Grand Avenue in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ civic center area for what JusticeLA says was the largest display of jail beds ever used in a demonstration.

“The Los Angeles County jail system is the largest jail system in the world—soon to be universe with their planned expansion,” explained JusticeLA’s Patrisse Cullors. “We delivered the beds they want to cage us in. We made the private, public. Many of us have actually been on these beds—had loved one in these beds. For us the beds represent a symbology. A bed is where you go to dream. But these beds literally destroy communities. These beds are taking money out of taxpayer’s pockets. So we brought the beds to them.”

JusticeLA was formed by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Dignity and Power Now along with anchor organizations: Californians United for Responsible Budget (CURB), Community Coalition, Dignity and Power Now, Immigrant Youth Coalition, TransLatin@ Coalition, Revolve Impact and Youth Justice Coalition. In partnership with a coalition of community organizations working with directly impacted communities affected by incarceration, JusticeLA was formed to reclaim, reimagine and reinvest what L.A. County could do with the $3.5 billion allocated to building a 3,885-bed replacement for the downtown Men’s Central Jail and to renovate the now-vacant Mira Loma Detention Center into a 1,600-bed women’s facility in Lancaster—replacing the Lynwood facility.

Inside of Tuesday’s meeting of the County Board of Supervisors’ meeting JusticeLA presented a motion calling for a moratorium on jail construction and expansion to the supervisors. The motion calls for an independent and thorough review of crime data and root causes, as well as evidence of effective strategies for reducing crime and violence through the reform efforts that are already underway. Supervisors were asked to undertake a thorough study of the potential impact of the recent influx of resources and reforms on the current jail population and conduct an investigation into future reforms that will further reduce the jail and other custody populations.

JusticeLA is challenging the supervisors to adopt a framework and methodology for integrating Measure H and Proposition 47 resources to complement existing and emerging efforts by the County of Los Angeles to reduce the jail population, reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax increase approved by county voters in March, is projected to provide nearly $259 million. Proposition 47, passed by voters in 2014, downgraded six drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors and allows defendants to renegotiate their punishments. California will begin the process of awarding millions of dollars in grants funded by the Proposition 47’s cost savings from keeping fewer nonviolent offenders in prison. JusticeLA is also advocating for monies from AB 109, the state’s prison realignment law enacted to ease California’s burgeoning prison overcrowding problem that moves the responsibility of administering certain inmates from the state to counties, to be put into cost-effective programs proven to reduce incarceration and recidivism rather than on expansion of police forces and expensive high-tech tracking systems.

In addition, the supervisors are being asked to determine the projected reductions in future jail population based on current County reform efforts – such as the recently created County Office of Diversion and Re-entry, the establishment of a Probation Oversight Commission, and the youth diversion work group – and to create a more accurate assessment of future jail population.

“This historic moment provides L.A. County with an opportunity to develop a comprehensive approach to public safety and effectively execute already prescribed improvements and reforms to our criminal justice system through the creation of a working group charged with achieving these aims,” said Mark-Anthony Johnson with JusticeLA. “JusticeLA is advocating for funding to go into community-based alternatives and not jails to address the communities with the highest rates of imprisonment. Those communities tend to be primarily poor and working class communities of color that are also disproportionately high in unemployment, home foreclosures, school cutbacks, inadequate access to healthcare and lower-than- average life expectancies.”

In L.A. County, 40 percent of female inmates are Latino while 32 percent are Black. The men’s facilities’ population is currently 50% Latino and 30% Black – over 80% people of color. While Black people make up less than 9% of L.A. County’s population, they are almost a third of the county jail population. The most impacted districts in L.A. County are Districts 1 & 2 represented by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas and encompassing the larger areas of East L.A. and South L.A.—neighborhoods that are predominantly low-income/working class, migrant, Black and Latino. More than half of those imprisoned have not been convicted of a crime and cannot afford bail.

Jonathan Perez, of JusticeLA, said time spent incarcerated, even for a short period, can affect a person’s mental health as well as job opportunities.

“These beds follow us,” Perez said.

There are plans to build a new mental health jail with an inadequate amount of health care workers. JusticeLA believes this will directly endanger communities of color who do not have access to low-cost, quality mental health care in Los Angeles, yet who are targeted by policing and incarceration. According to L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, there are approximately 3,000 people in L.A. jails with mental illness “essentially turning the jail into a psychiatric ward.”

“I believe that the County Board of Supervisors should have a commission to study alternatives to jails,” said Patrisse Cullors. “With $3.5 billion we could support people who are houseless and getting them homes. We could support children who have little access to getting healthy food.   I’m a lover of life and I deeply believe in humanity’s ability to do better than we’re currently doing.”