Urgent: Sign letter opposing Santa Cruz Sheriff Hart’s proposal to create a “trespassing ordinance” around the jail

***Update:

After hundreds of individuals and organizations opposed the ordinance in a letter and in public comments to the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors during their meeting on February 10th, the BoS rewrote the ordinance to be less vague and open to subjective sheriff discretion on areas of trespass. While we urged them to entirely reject the ordinance, the BoS voted unanimously to enact it, but with the following amendments:
– specified the trespass area will not include areas where we do jail support and rallies;
– inclusion of a map of the no trespass area (a fence around the jail that has been hopped once in the past)
– clarification that it will not be used to deny rights of freedom of assembly, expression, and speech.
Two supervisors said they appreciated our testimonies and support our concern with such rights, and one supervisor thanked us for our work at the jail and for our efforts regarding this ordinance.

You can sign onto the letter HERE.
Email sinbarras@gmail.com with any questions

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.

Meeting information:

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.

Signed:

Sin Barras

Organizations:

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

Queer Strike

UC Santa Cruz Autonomous Students

US PROStitutes Collective

Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike

Individuals:

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

 

apr6

One comment

  1. The survival of any nation is how they treat the economically less fortunate. The U.S. has run counter to this premise. It rewards the greedy, not the needy. This will eventually lead to the dissolution of the capitalistic system as we know it.

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