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The first reading of this proposal is on Tuesday, February 10th at the Board of Supervisors meeting. Please come prepared to make public comments, most likely 2-3 minutes each.
9am-3pm (end time varies, depending on how long items take — this ordinance is item 6 on the “Regular Agenda”)
@ 701 Ocean St. Rm. #525
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors,
This letter is being sent to you on behalf of Sin Barras, a local grassroots organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration and creating long-lasting alternatives to imprisonment, and the undersigned.
We are deeply concerned by Sheriff Jim Hart and Susan Mauriello’s proposal to adopt a local trespass ordinance “to deter members of the public from entering the grounds of the County correctional facilities that are not open to the general public” (Chapter 10.24). Susan Mauriello is the Santa Cruz County Administrative Officer and chair of the Board of State and Community Corrections Stand Committee on Data and Research, the body that has been funding county jail expansion projects. The language of Hart and Mauriello’s proposal is vague and open-ended, leaving far too much room for subjective decisions that can stifle Constitutionally-protected rights of free speech, assembly, and expression. It is not clear how this ordinance would “add to the preservation of peace and safety at our correctional facilities.” Sheriff Hart only cites one specific incident, and even in this case, it is unclear how an additional ordinance would have improved public safety.
Furthermore, the findings of the recent Grand Jury investigation into ongoing deaths in the local jail is a clear sign that the operation of the jail needs more community engagement, not less. After a yearlong investigation of five deaths in the Santa Cruz County Jail, the Grand Jury concluded that “[California Forensic Medical Group] CFMG staff failed to identify and treat symptoms of methadone overdose and had insufficient oversight and treatment facilities for people in the supposedly monitored units.” It made recommendations to improve physical and mental health services in the jail, but nearly all of the research was met with utter denial from the Sheriff’s Department and CFMG, and they were not held accountable. A month after the Sheriff and CFMG’s denial of responsibility, another woman died. This shows that the jail is not an institution of peace and safety, and that community involvement is needed to make it a safer place.
On April 6th, 2013, Sin Barras organized a rally outside the Santa Cruz County Jail that helped catalyze the Grand Jury investigation of the deaths in the jail. On January 24th, 2015, Sin Barras and over 200 community members held a rally at the jail to peacefully protest the preventable deaths inside, and to let those inside know that we care about them and the conditions in which they are incarcerated. In coordination with local, national, and international organizations, the rally demanded that:
- The Board of Supervisors cancel its contract with California Forensic Medical Group.
- The Sheriff’s Department and CFMG accept responsibility for the unnatural deaths and implement the Grand Jury recommendations to expand Crisis Intervention Team mental health services.
- Abolish solitary confinement, administrative segregation and other forms of torture, such as the restraint/torture chair.
- Santa Cruz County cancel the $24.6 million planned expansion of Rountree Detention Center and invest in community-based social services.
Three days after the rally, Sheriff Hart and Susan Mauriello issued this proposal, which we think was in response to our rally and our ongoing jail support work. Sin Barras goes to the jail weekly to offer support to families and friends visiting people inside. People have consistently expressed appreciation of this effort and the ways that it breaks through the isolation and shame that people sometimes feel having loved ones or friends incarcerated.
Freedom of assembly is a First Amendment right, and a local trespass ordinance “to deter members of the public from entering the grounds of the County correctional facilities” (Chapter 10.24) could be used to deny the public this Constitutional right. As community members it is our responsibility to stand for human and civil rights and hold governing bodies accountable to them.
The Sheriff recently announced an initiative called Prudent Care for Incarcerated Seniors, and said that more could have been done to prevent the death of Sharon Gibbs. We support this approach as a step in the right direction, but also want to see better healthcare and jail conditions for all ages, not only seniors. Community members should be able to be present at the jail for jail support and public assembly to work toward these goals.
In order to maintain safety and stability inside and outside of the jail, an open, transparent, and accessible process of community input and participation is essential. Because the ordinance gives too much discretion to law enforcement to keep people away from the jail and threatens civil rights, we believe it is your responsibility to reject Sheriff Hart and Susan Mauriello’s Chapter 10.24 ordinance.
Critical Race & Ethnic Studies Student Working Group, UC Santa Cruz
Food is Free, Santa Cruz
Food Not Bombs, Santa Cruz
Global Women’s Strike
Idriss Stelley Foundation
Jewish Voice for Peace, Santa Cruz
Palestine Israel-Action Committee, Santa Cruz
Peace & Freedom Party, Santa Cruz
Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community
Redwood Curtain CopWatch
San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
UC Santa Cruz Autonomous Students
US PROStitutes Collective
Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike
Alexis Kargl, Santa Cruz resident
Alina Fox, Soquel resident
Ana Barrera, Educator, Community Activist, Salinas
Anais Rubio, Santa Cruz resident
Andrés Sandoval, UCSC, Politics & Feminist Studies
Antti Korhonen, Santa Cruz resident
Athena Zouzounis, Santa Cruz resident
Ben Mabie, Santa Cruz resident
Breeann MacDonald, Santa Cruz resident
Courtney Hanson, Santa Cruz resident
Daniella D’Acquisto, Santa Cruz Resident
Danielle Williamson, Santa Cruz resident
Darell Yeaney, Santa Cruz resident
Debra Ellis, Santa Cruz resident
Dicarlos Davis, Stanford student
Dorah Shuey, Santa Cruz resident
Emma Lee, Santa Cruz resident
Esme Bitticks, Santa Cruz resident
Ethan Pezzolo, Santa Cruz resident
Frank Alvarado Sr., Latinos United, Salinas
Grant Palmer, Soquel resident
Guadalupe Barboza, Santa Cruz, resident
Harold Hardin, UCSC, Sociology and Critical Race/Ethnic Studies
Holly Mayer, Aptos resident
James Braggs, Educator
Jameson Rush, Santa Cruz resident
Jeb Purucker, Santa Cruz resident
Jessica Taft, Santa Cruz resident, UC Santa Cruz professor
Jessica Espinoza, Soquel resident
Julia Balibrera, Food Not Bombs organizer
Kyle Czimback, Santa Cruz resident, UCSC – Psych & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.
Leslie Potenzo, Santa Cruz resident
Lesley-Reid Harrison, Santa Cruz resident
Lisa Curran, Santa Cruz resident
Lori Avina-Korhonen, Santa Cruz resident
Mark Shunney, Santa Cruz resident
Maureen Smith, Chairperson of the County Central Committee, Peace and Freedom Party
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Newspaper
Mariela Padilla, Santa Cruz resident
Michaella Borges, Santa Cruz resident
Michelle Glowa, Santa Cruz resident
Mickey McConnell, Santa Cruz resident
Molly Meadows, Food is Free, Santa Cruz
Mysia Anderson, Stanford resident
Nathaniel Matthews-Trigg, UCSC Alumni
Nayeli Gil, Watsonville resident
Nykki Milano, Santa Cruz resident
Paul Spector, Registered Nurse
Paula LeRoy, Aptos resident
Rebecca Ruiz Sunwoo
Rabbi Borukh Goldberg, Santa Cruz resident
Robert Norse, Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom
Samuel Tindell, Santa Cruz resident
Sandra Harvey, Santa Cruz resident
Sheila Carrillo, Santa Cruz resident
Stewart Isaacs, Stanford resident
Sue Yeaney, Santa Cruz Resident
Tash Nguyen, Santa Cruz resident
Trio Harris, Santa Cruz resident
Willow Katz, Santa Cruz resident
Zach Gentry, Santa Cruz resident
Yadira Diaz-Ramirez, Santa Cruz resident
Yvonne P. Sherwood, Santa Cruz resident