Stop Adelanto Private Prison Construction

Stop Adelanto Private Prison ConstructionHelp the City of Adelanto Lose Its Prison Industrial Fixation: Sign the Petition

Residents of the cash-strapped High Desert city of Adelanto are fianlly beginning to question their political leaders’ wisdom in voting to bring in two new private prisons–a 3,264-bed Corrections Corporation of America facility and a 1,050-bed Geo Group facility–in the hopes of getting LA County to contract for the use of one of them. With jail population numbers already falling due to the effects of Prop 47 and with a new plan for the county jail system coming soon, it’s very doubtful LA will want or need the additional capacity.

Our friends at CURB have created a good open letter to Adelanto officials and county supervisors JNJ urges you to sign the petition today and help this small city change its disastrous over-reliance on human suffering as a source of jobs and taxes.

Dear Board of Supervisors and City Council Members:We write to you as a collective of nonprofit organizations, community groups, businesses, and individuals opposed to the construction of two new jails in the city of Adelanto. As it stands, Adelanto is already home to the High Desert’s Prison Industrial Complex, with a total of 9,235 cages within a 7-mile radius, and current construction happening at an existing facility.

There are multiple concerns with the city’s plans to allow for construction of yet another jail, including the fact that the jail has not been requested, the severe lack of transparency, and the way in which this decision has come up for a vote. Above all, is the harm that it will cause Adelanto’s residents and the reality that more jails is not what Adelanto needs!

News articles state that the new jail will serve to alleviate overcrowding for Los Angeles County. However, the LA Board of Supervisors has not voted in favor of, nor requested a proposal for a new facility. And new LA officials are stating that they do not want more jails. LA Supervisor Solis warned of the “incarceration-industrial complex that will sink our economy as well as our society if we allow it to.” LA Supervisor Kuehl said that she wants to revisit LA’s recent decision to spend $2 million tax dollars building jails in LA.

Based on the historic passage of Proposition 47 (which reclassifies 6 felony convictions to misdemeanors), reports like the one done by Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, estimated that LA County will see an inmate reduction of 2,500-7,500 people, significantly reducing overcrowding, and reinforcing the fact that a new jail isn’t needed. These numbers contradict the reasons why Adelanto is investing in this more jails.

There are already major concerns with the lack of transparency, and accountability amongst Adelanto’s City Management. City officials have a bad track record for abuses, including silencing opposition, mishandling finances, potential cover-ups, and attempts to mislead the public on this issue. In addition, there are real issues with the existing facilities in the city. We in no way feel secure in the city’s authorization of more jails based on partnerships with billion dollar private prison executive, Doctor Crants, and developer Buck Johns, who have a notorious record of failed business ventures in the region.

Adelanto residents voted in a mayor who is against the new jail and have faith in that the new City Council will make a different decision. These new jails will create a significant burden on Adelanto residents.

Adelanto has not seen any benefit from the existing facilities and it will not benefit from two new jails. Allowing private prisons to be build in Adelanto detracts from the real issues that city officials should be focused on, like creating sustainable jobs that will help Adelanto thrive not further hinder advancement. Building more cages prevents the city from investing in businesses and detracts from the real social issues residents face, such as lack of prioritization around education, health care, healthy food access, and positive social welfare!

There is a high cost to the 9,325 cages already in Adelanto, and a real lack of acceptance, and acknowledgement of that on the part of city government. There should be a true cost benefit analysis of what is already occurring in this town, not efforts to exploit it more! Multiple studies, like that of Genter, Hooks and Moscher, contradict all city official’s claims that this new jail will bring jobs or promote any economic opportunities. Research shows that prisons have an overall negative impact on communities, especially rural communities, like Adelanto.

We strongly encourage you to reconsider two new jails as an option for Adelanto. We trust that you will make the right decision for Adelanto residents, and vote against any new jails in the city.

Sincerely,

Rev. Peter Laarman

Justice Not Jails

About Peter Laarman

Rev. Peter Laarman serves on the Justice Not Jails steering committee. He formerly directed Progressive Christians Uniting, the LA-based network of activist individuals and congregations that first launched Justice Not Jails in 2012 as a multifaith initiative. He served as the senior minister of New York’s Judson Memorial Church from 1994 to 2004. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Peter spent 15 years as a labor movement strategist and communications specialist prior to training for ministry.