Ella Baker Center Wins Jobs Not Jails in Alameda County

Today, on Tuesday, March 24th, the Ella Baker Center won a major victory in our campaign for Jobs Not Jails in Alameda County.

The Board of Supervisors voted to pass Supervisor Keith Carson’s proposal to allocate 50% of the public safety realignment funds towards community-based re-entry programs and services in 2015-16. We applaud Supervisor Carson for listening to the community, and taking a bold step forward in making Alameda County a model for counties throughout the state. We also thank Supervisor Nate Miley and Supervisor Wilma Chan for supporting Supervisor Carson’s vision.

For the past six months, the Ella Baker Center has joined with faith leaders, community members, and grassroots leaders to demand that the supervisors set aside half of their public safety funding for community programs and services that prioritize job training, education, housing, and healthcare for people coming out of jail.

In the past, the vast majority of public safety funds have been allocated to the sheriff, which is unwarranted given that crime rates in Alameda County are declining and jail beds are largely unoccupied by Alameda County residents convicted of a crime.

By adopting Supervisor Carson’s proposal for 2015-16, Alameda County officials have taken an important step forward in tearing down the web of criminalization and incarceration that entraps too many Alameda County residents, especially low income people and people of color.

“Supervisor Carson’s proposal to support more funding for re-entry services for people coming out of jail will help folks reconnect with their communities so that they not just get out of the system, but stay out of the system,” said Zachary Norris, the Ella Baker Center’s Executive Director.

Community support for the Jobs Not Jails campaign is what made this victory possible, especially the persistent and tireless efforts of constituents from the First Unitarian Church of Oakland and the Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform. We also appreciate the support of community organizations like Forward Together, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, and the Alameda Labor Council.

We look forward to working with Alameda County officials to implement Supervisor Carson’s proposal for the 2015-16 budget.

For more information, please contact Communications Manager Zaineb Mohammed at Zaineb@ellabakercenter.org or 510-285-8236.