Black Lives Matter, Other Activists Protest to Stop Jail Expansion

Stop Jail ExpansionDozens of people gathered outside the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration on Tuesday to protest the expansion of jails in the county, while inside the building the Board of Supervisors finalized next year’s budget.

Wearing prison-orange T-shirts that read “I am not the property of L.A. County jail,” activists from a coalition of anti-incarceration groups perched on and around 100 steel-frame jail bunks that had been arranged on the street outside the Hahn Hall of Administration.

Wearing prison-orange T-shirts that read “I am not the property of L.A. County jail,” activists from a coalition of anti-incarceration groups perched on and around 100 steel-frame jail bunks that had been arranged on the street outside the Hahn Hall of Administration.

Police closed the entire block of Temple Street between Grand Avenue and Hill Street downtown.

“These beds represent trauma, torture, embarrassment, isolation, shame and death,” said Jayda Rasberry of the group Dignity and Power Now during a news conference.

The demonstrators, led by Patrisse Cullors, an L.A. native and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, launched the “Justice L.A.” campaign to call on county leaders to redirect funds intended for new jails to community services and other alternatives to incarceration.

The county plans to spend $2 billion to build a 3,885-bed replacement for the downtown Men’s Central Jail and a 1,600-bed women’s facility at the now-vacant Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster.

nina agrawalThe plan, which opponents contend could amount to $3.5 billion by the time the jails are completed, was first approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2015.

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Nina Agarwal
Los Angeles Times

About Nina Agrawal

Nina Agrawal is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. She previously reported for WLRN-Miami Herald News and for the Latin American affairs magazine Americas Quarterly. A Southern California native, Agrawal is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and School of International and Public Affairs.

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