Connect with us

Community

Supervisors delay decision on women’s jail for three weeks

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — The county’s plan to retrofit an immigration detention center in Lancaster as a women’s jail,seems likely to be abandoned in its current form.

Published

on

LOS ANGELES — The county’s plan to retrofit an immigration detention center in Lancaster as a women’s jail, long opposed by criminal justice advocates, seems likely to be abandoned in its current form based on the lack of support from the Board of Supervisors Jan. 8.

A vote to approve a $215 million budget for Mira Loma Detention Center and award a design-build construction contract to San Fernando Valley-based Bernards Bros. Inc. was postponed at the request of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

The matter is set to come back before the board in three weeks, but Kuehl said she would not vote to build on the site — which is roughly 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles — and Supervisor Hilda Solis said changes would need to be made to the plan before she would support it.

Funding for the project requires four votes from the five-member Board of Supervisors.

“The location of the proposed women’s jail at Mira Loma poses significant, and in my opinion, insurmountable obstacles to our goal of creating a women’s jail that is the centerpiece of a gender-responsive corrections system,” Kuehl said Jan. 7. “Mira Loma is too far away from the home communities of the women who would be housed there, and too far away from family members who would need to visit.”

Solis said she is committed to finding strategies that encourage family reunification and lower recidivism rates, but stopped short of saying she would never support a plan to build in Lancaster.

“L.A. County should be on the forefront of diversion and rehabilitation, rather than punishment than incarceration,” Solis said.

The board approved the project in concept in 2015, though Solis abstained from the vote and both she and Kuehl called then for strategies to overcome the challenges posed by the facility’s location.

The JusticeLA Coalition declared victory as members stood outside the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in orange T-shirts with the slogan “can’t get well in a cell” emblazoned on the back.

“We can finally claim this victory after seven years,” Eunisses Hernandez of JusticeLA said, drawing cheers.

Coalition speakers urged the board to invest in community resources that could reduce the numbers of arrests and jail time by treating mental illness, providing jobs and educating young people.

Supervisor Janice Hahn, who chairs the board, said the decision to delay a vote and rethink the jail plan was made by the board as a whole.

“It was a collective will to put the brakes on, to take a step back and to pause,” Hahn said. “There is a new sheriff in town who also has some ideas. … He also would like to weigh in.”

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has talked about reducing the jail population and finding alternatives to incarceration and many advocates of reform see him as a potential ally.

“We have a sheriff who does not want to build and that is unprecedented,” Mark-Anthony Johnson of Dignity & Power Now told the board, after thanking them for “challenging the conventional wisdom that this was just a done deal.”

Villanueva is working on alternatives to discuss with the board, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told City News Service.

But it’s not clear whether the board and the sheriff are willing to go as far as criminal justice advocates would like. For activists, it isn’t simply a question of where the jail is built.

“The ask is not for a better women’s jail, it’s for meaningful and real alternatives to incarceration,” said community activist Kristina Lear. “I’m not asking for a relocation, I’m asking for a halt to it.”

Esther Lim of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said the county didn’t do enough front-end analysis on who needs to be jailed versus who needs diversion and treatment, pointing out that one of the most detailed studies behind the jails plan was provided by a construction management firm.

It’s time to “reexamine what criminal justice looks like here in Los Angeles,” Lim told City News Service.

Before the board, Lim pointed out that Mira Loma is not the only jail slated for construction.

The proposed Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility “is a mistake that will cost us billions of dollars,” Lim said.

A $2.2 billion Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility is planned to replace the crowded, decrepit Men’s Central Jail and provide better treatment and more humane conditions for the roughly one-third of inmates who have mental health issues.

The county Department of Public Works had recommended increasing the Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility budget by roughly $30 million and awarding a contract to McCarthy Building Companies Inc. A vote on that item was also postponed for three weeks at the department’s request.

“If you’re going to take Mira Loma off the table, we need to look at the entire jail plan,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger told her colleagues.

Lancaster is in the district she represents, but Barger said she had no issue with choosing another location for a women’s jail in downtown Los Angeles or elsewhere.

As for the existing Lancaster detention center, “I’d love to flatten it and put in affordable housing tomorrow,” Barger said.

But she also warned the board that $100 million in state funding for the project was at stake.

The county has also spent roughly $8 million on planning for the Mira Loma project, according to a Department of Public Works spokesman.

While everyone on the board agreed with the need to rethink the plan, at least with regard to Mira Loma, no one offered a specific alternative.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas reminded his colleagues that one of the reasons for updating the county jail system is to comply with Department of Justice concerns about the treatment of suicidal and mentally ill inmates.

“This discussion is at least 15 years old. Four governors later, 10 members of the Board of Supervisors later … we have yet to land,” Ridley-Thomas said. “What then are we prepared to construct?”

Even Kuehl, who was willing to take the strongest stance against Mira Loma, maintained her support for the men’s jail project, saying it would improve the treatment and rehabilitation of mentally ill jail inmates.

But Lim and other advocates argued that most of those inmates are behind bars for non-violent offenses and could be diverted into community-based programs where they would have a better chance of leading productive lives.

Johnson estimated that the county could divert about 10,000 individuals annually into community programs rather than jailing them and said the vast majority of the county’s diversion programs had not yet been implemented.

To date, the county has diverted roughly 2,500 offenders through its Office of Diversion and Reentry.

This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers

Activism

IN MEMORIAM: Oakland’s Own Bill Russell, 88, Greatest Athlete/Civil Rights Activist Ever (Part 1)

NNPA NEWSWIRE — William Felton Russell was born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Monroe, La., and his family moved to West Oakland in 1942 when he was 8. His father found work on the waterfront and in the Bay Area shipyards in the middle of World War II. They instilled in him a history of racial and family pride that helped him survive in a racially discriminatory Boston environment while playing for the Boston Celtics.

Published

on

As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.
As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.

By Paul Cobb, Post News Group Publisher

Bill Russell, the center of attention in professional basketball, died at 88 after becoming the most decorated athlete in all of the team sports in the United States.

The star of the Boston Celtics from 1956-1969, he changed the way basketball was played by applying his rare combination of basketball and track and field athleticism to fashion a defense-centered dominance. In a sport where one’s ability to score points was prized, he reversed the focus by making defensive thinking to prevent others from scoring.

He died on July 31, after more than 70 years of basketball and civil rights activism.

William Felton Russell was born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Monroe, La., and his family moved to West Oakland in 1942 when he was 8. His father found work on the waterfront and in the Bay Area shipyards in the middle of World War II. They instilled in him a history of racial and family pride that helped him survive in a racially discriminatory Boston environment while playing for the Boston Celtics.

In his early years his home was only three blocks east from Ron Dellums, Oakland’s first Black congressman, and just three blocks west from Frank Robinson, Oakland’s first Black Major League Baseball coach.

While living near Ninth and Center streets, he learned early on that one must fight for honor, dignity, and respect by never backing down from any challenge whether through fisticuffs or verbal slights.

He was mentored at Defremery Park and Recreation Center by the late Dorothy Seale Pitts and George Scotlan along with Bill Patterson, who now serves as an EBMUD Director, to stay centered on what mattered.

Even though he pioneered greatness as an athlete and as a scholar/athlete/civil rights activist who fought to achieve dignity and respect for African Americans, his path to recognition and honor was not easy because was not considered good enough to crack the starting five basketball Warriors lineup at McClymonds High School in West Oakland.

He never stopped trying and practicing with his teammates who were better shooters and scorers. But, at 6-foot 10 inches, he was taller and could jump higher and played defense above the rim. He even became the Warriors’ mascot who created a stunning nimble artistic dance routine as the team’s mascot.

(His achievements attracted many who sought to follow in his footsteps with stylized dance routines that were featured during halftime breaks.)

His mother died when he was 12, never seeing Bill win two state prep titles and two national college crowns at the University of San Francisco after being ignored by many colleges because he was Black.

He was a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and captain of the 1956 U.S. Gold Medal team at the Melbourne Olympics. He drastically altered defensive play by excelling in rebounding, shot-blocking, and passing to ignite a fast-paced style of play.

He won eight consecutive NBA titles from 1959-1966. As a player-coach in his final three seasons, Russell was the first Black coach in North American sports and the first to win a title, doing so in 1968 and again in his 1969 farewell campaign.

He was the first Black player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by Barack Obama, America’s first Black president, for his civil rights and basketball achievements.

Russell was first among Oakland’s and the country’s athletic achievers. His USF team was the first major college to start three Black players. His Celtics team was the first to start five Black players. He was the first to become a player-coach. And he was the first player-coach to win an NBA title. He was first to be invited by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak at the 1963 March on Washington. He was the first athlete to utilize his celebrity by traveling to Mississippi to use sports to bring racial healing after the KKK killed NAACP leader Medgar Evers.

As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, he used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.

He always remembered his friends and mentors here in Oakland. Whenever he traveled to Oakland, he would often check in with Maxine Willis Ussery and reminisce about the days when his family would visit her family’s cleaning establishment.

She said he was protective of her and wanted to meet and give his approval to any of her dates and he insisted that he go to dinner with her and fiance Wilfred Ussery to give his approval. Maxine is now the office manager at the Post News Group (Oakland Post).

He paid one of his highest compliments to Bill Patterson for guiding and counseling him since his high school days. He said Patterson helped him understand that he must never allow himself to be a victim. He was proud of Coach Ben Tapscott, the McClymonds’ basketball coach, who not only continued to maintain the school’s tradition as the winningest high school in the country with an emphasis on academic achievements.

He invited Tapscott to share the glory with him when he was inducted and honored by the University of San Francisco.

In an interview with Russell and former WNBA Coach Nancy Lieberman, just months before his passing, he was making plans to donate a jointly signed basketball to salute the achievement of Oakland’s African American Sports and Entertainment Group for purchasing the Oakland Coliseum.

Bill Patterson, Geoffrey Pete, Ben Tapscott, Joe Ellis, Jumoke Hinton, Rev. Gerald Agee, Ray Bobbitt, Arif Khatib, Virtual Murrell, Gary Reeves, Nancy Lieberman, Jonathan Jones, Al Attles, Jr. and many others have asked The Post to put them on the task force to gather the list and honor the Bay Area’s historic cavalcade of Athlete/Activists who also became “firsts” in their respective sports. For those who want to volunteer to be included, please contact Maxine Ussery @510-287-8200 or mussery@postnewsgroup.com.

“We must find a way to honor our highest achievers,” said Bill Patterson and Ben Tapscott

Continue Reading

Activism

Over 500 Attend Police-Free Event to Reimagine Safety in Oakland

Night Out for Safety and Liberation started in 2013 by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain and is held as an alternative to the police-centric National Night Out. Since 2013, the event has spread across the country with over 50 events scheduled this year where communities make the night about the power of community, not cops.

Published

on

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Night Out for Safety and Liberation Events Held in More Than 50 Communities Across the Country

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

OAKLAND, CA — Over 500 people and families filled Josie de la Cruz Park in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood on Aug. 2 to enjoy performances, kids activities, and mutual aid to celebrate Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL), an annual national event that redefines what safety and joy is without policing. The free community event included free diapers and books for all ages, food, bike giveaways, air purifiers, self defense training, a drag show, and performances from poets and artists such as Lauren Adams, TJ Sykes and Voces Mexicanas.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Night Out for Safety and Liberation started in 2013 by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain and is held as an alternative to the police-centric National Night Out. Since 2013, the event has spread across the country with over 50 events scheduled this year where communities make the night about the power of community, not cops.

“We have been reimagining what safety means beyond police for our communities for over 25 years at the Ella Baker Center. When we create safe spaces for our community to come together and support each other, when we provide living-wage jobs so people are able to put food on their table, when we empower our children and provide opportunities for them to thrive, when we invest in healthcare and mental health resources, this is how we create real safety,” said Marlene Sanchez, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Through Night Out for Safety and Liberation, communities are creating safety not through policing but through healing and restorative justice, through creating gender affirming spaces and protecting trans and LGBTQIA communities, through reinvesting funding into community-based alternatives and solutions that truly keep communities safe.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

“We don’t need more police in our streets. We don’t need more surveillance. What we need is resources!” said Jose Bernal, Organizing Director with the Ella Baker Center. “What we need is housing, diapers, legal resources, jobs. This [Night Out for Safety and Liberation] is what keeps us safe. This is resilience.”

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

The event was emceed by Nifa Akosua, Senior Organizer and Advocate with the Ella Baker Center, and TJ Sykes, author and community activist–both natives of Richmond, California. The show included entertaining performances from Oakland Originalz break dancers, Voces Mexicanas mariachi band, singer Lauren Adams and a drag show from Afrika America.

“Night Out for Safety and Liberation is about neighborhood love and neighborhood safety. It’s about connecting, showing up for each other and staying connected as a community. That’s how we keep each other safe,” said Nifa.

More than 20 organizations and vendors participated in Tuesday’s event, offering community resources, face painting, giving away 500 books for all ages, and free diapers. Those participating included: Help A Mother Out, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, ACLU of Northern California, TGI Justice Project, Urban Peace Movement, Ella Baker’s Readers & Cesar Chavez Public Library, Alliance for Girls, Bay Area Women Against Rape, Centro Legal de la Raza, Common Humanity Collective, Street Level Health Project, Malikah – Self Defense, East Bay Community Law Center, Unity Council, Young Women’s Freedom Center, East Bay Family Defenders, Bay Area Workers Support, L’Artiste A La Carte, Education Super Highway, Cut Fruit Collective, and WIC.

Other Night Out for Safety and Liberation events were held in Oakland, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Waco, Hampden, Conway, Washington D.C. and other cities. Follow the conversation and see photos from events in other cities using #SafetyIs and #NOSL22.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

Published

on

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner has been sentenced to more than 9 years in a Russian prison following her conviction on drug charges.

Her lawyers called the verdict a disappointment and vowed to appeal.

The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice.

“Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal,” they added.

Russian officials contended that Griner committed the crime on purpose. They also levied a fine totaling about $16,400 American dollars on the basketball star.

Authorities arrested Griner on Feb. 17 at an airport in Moscow after finding less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

She has been detained since then.

Recently, American officials revealed that the Biden-Harris administration had offered notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.
Activism5 hours ago

IN MEMORIAM: Oakland’s Own Bill Russell, 88, Greatest Athlete/Civil Rights Activist Ever (Part 1)

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
Activism5 days ago

Over 500 Attend Police-Free Event to Reimagine Safety in Oakland

Digital Issues5 days ago

Oakland Post: Week of August 3 – August 9, 2022

#NNPA BlackPress6 days ago

Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

The City Council established a task force to discuss the racial issues involved in construction and the possibility of a Project Labor Agreement. The task force included some community members, including the publisher of the Oakland Post, and was mandated to address racial discrimination first.
Activism6 days ago

OPINION: Are We About to See the Permanent Exclusion of Most Black People from Construction Jobs in Oakland?

#NNPA BlackPress6 days ago

Report: Human Rights Violations in Prisons Throughout Southern United States Cause Disparate and Lasting Harm in Black Communities  

#NNPA BlackPress6 days ago

Celebrate your birthday with 10 free items

#NNPA BlackPress6 days ago

Vice President Harris Addresses NAACP Convention; Urges Black Voter Participation

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

Biden Administration Announces Steps to Lower Electricity Bills for Residents in HUD Programs

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

Police Force and Top Officials Resign in Kenly, North Carolina After City Council Hires Black Women as Town Manager

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

Biden-Harris Administration Announce New Actions to Address Mental Health in Schools

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

Will Smith Issues Apology to Chris Rock and Family for Oscars Slap

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

Emory University Announces the first African American Studies Ph.D. Program in the U.S. Southeast

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

PRESS ROOM: Autism influencer Jeremiah Josey releases a new book about his experience as a Black man with autism

#NNPA BlackPress1 week ago

IN MEMORIAM: Basketball Legend Bill Russell Dies at 88

Trending