Yet Orange County is building a jail. The Orange County Board of Supervisors plans to spend over $350 million to expand and operate this jail, money that is desperately needed in our community. TJOC believes that healthy communities do not criminalize mental illness and houselessness while failing to provide the support our community members need to attain financial stability and mental wellness. The decision to build more jail beds and place mental health care behind bars is a decision to empower OCSD to continue to over-police and incarcerate POC and low income people. Our communities need care, not cages.
This proves that when our community is hurting, our Board of Supervisors continues to line the pockets of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The OC Board of Supervisors (BoS) spends almost 20% of its entire discretionary budget on the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and 56% of discretionary funds on public “protection” (including OCSD, OCDA, and Probation). Discretionary funds are unrestricted funds that BoS has the power to spend in our community, on services, care, and support. In October 2019, BoS approved $150 million in raises for OC deputy sheriffs, with an additional $48 million per-year in ongoing raises taken out of county funds that could be used for housing, mental health services in the community, and other community-based services. These increases do not include the cost of expanding Musick.
Alongside the nation, the Orange County community is voicing rage and grief after the murder of George Floyd and decades of police brutality and racism. Communities across the nation are demanding that police, jails, and prisons be defunded and budgets be reallocated to support community alternatives.
Amidst curfew, unrest, and a pandemic, the Board of Supervisors is awarding a contract on 6/2/20 to The Donald Krotee Partnership, Inc. totaling $547,025, for upgrades to closed circuit television at Central Men’s and Women’s Jails and at the currently-empty James A. Musick Facility.
A significant portion of the $547,025 is going to fund televisions in an empty jail, the Musick Facility in Irvine. The Orange County Board of Supervisors plans to spend over $380 million to expand this jail, money that is desperately needed in our community.
This proves that when our community is hurting, our Board of Supervisors continues to line the pockets of the prison industrial complex.
The OC Board of Supervisors spends almost 20% of its entire discretionary budget on the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The OCSD budget has increased by over $60 million since 2016, including an almost 9% raise to existing staff. These increases do not include the cost of expanding Musick.
Join us and demand that Donald Wagner, Andrew Do, Michelle Steel, Doug Chaffee, and Lisa Bartlett stop investing in building OC jails and start investing in a stronger OC community.
Join us for an update on Covid-19 in the jails, our efforts to stop the James A Musick jail expansion, and information from Resilience OC and their current DACA action.
Although TJOC’s leadership is diverse, the discussion this evening is not being facilitated by Black folx. We will be discussing the ongoing BLM actions in OC, and what we can do in solidarity to support and uplift these actions as allies and accomplices. We cannot speak on behalf of OC’s Black community in good faith.
Join the family and friends of Anthony Aceves, Transforming Justice OC, and other community partners on Saturday, May 23 at 2:30 PM in Santa Ana for a car rally to demand justice for Anthony and all those who have lost their lives to state violence.
One year ago, on May 23, 2019, we lost a wonderful person from our world. While in the negligent and abusive custody of the Orange County Sheriff, Anthony Aceves lost his precious life.
“I want people to know my son was not perfect, but he had a heart of gold. He would give you his shoes off his feet if you needed them. He loved shoes and had many. He always fed his friends or [whomever]. He was funny, kind, handsome, and loved by many. I miss him so much sometimes I just want to be with him. It’s so hard to live without him. Anthony was my life, my world… But I know I can’t, won’t [let them] get away with this. I will continue being a pain and will seek justice for my amazing son.”
There is a horrible history of deaths in O.C. jails. From 2010 to 2020, 77 HUMAN BEINGS died while under the responsibility and custody of OCSD. This year alone, five people have died in OCSD custody. The O.C. Grand Jury found that 44% of jail deaths between 2014 and 2017 could have been prevented with timely and adequate care.
The ongoing wrongful death lawsuit brought by Anthony’s family shows that the county was aware of Anthony’s severe mental health diagnoses. After his last arrest, Anthony was taken to a mental-health facility, but then transferred to regular housing and placed in protective custody two days later. Protective custody is known to be especially harmful for those with mental-health diagnoses.
The DA’s investigation alleges Anthony died of a fentanyl overdose from eating a cookie provided by another incarcerated person, but investigators did not definitively determine if there was a cookie or if Anthony ate it, demonstrating one example among many of county law enforcement’s lack of accountability and care.
According to Humberto Guizar, an attorney for Anthony’s mother, deputies in the jail ignored Anthony’s condition. They “acted with deliberate indifference to a known medical condition.” Sheriff’s deputies “in an indirect way caused (Anthony’s) death.”
Many arrive in O.C. jails with severe pre-existing medical conditions, mental-health diagnoses, and substance abuse disorders. As is the case throughout the country, BI&POC, gender non-conforming individuals, and people experiencing poverty are disproportionately represented in the jail population. Those who die at the hands of O.C. law enforcement are disproportionately marginalized people.
The system restricts resources to marginalized people. It denies preventative and necessary aid. It prevents employment and wealth generation. It fails to provide protection for those who need it most.
The system seeks to pathologize and criminalize marginalized people, those considered less than or different. Their needs aren’t met, as if they don’t matter. Instead, they are incarcerated and killed.
Anthony was a special, vibrant person deserving of care and compassion, not cages. He was further harmed by incarceration like many of the people who are criminalized because of their mental health or substance use disorders. He could never have become well in a cell. People do not get better in cages.
We wish to honor Anthony’s memory, and the memory of all those who have lost their lives to the injustice of state violence, neglect, and oppression.
Through a commemorative Car Rally, we will make our voices heard. We demand accountability for the awful and egregious actions of OCSD and the DA.
We demand justice and we are not going away.
Justice for Anthony.
We are not a blockade. We are a very LOUD car rally! Our goal is to make our presence known and demand justice! Bring noise makers of all kinds and chant your messages. Please, drive in single file, in one lane; do not block traffic.
CREATE BANNERS & DECORATE YOUR CAR:
Please create your banners, giant signs and other creative car decorations that are visible, easy to read from a distance, in black and white or other easy to read colors. Your voice matters!
Use These or Similar Sign, Banner and Car Decorating Messages:
Justice for Anthony!
No More Jail Deaths!
Going to Jail Should NOT be a Death Sentence!
Care Not Cages!
Invest in People NOT Caging and Killing!
Free People Now!
Let Them Go!
Detention Is Deadly
COVID-19 SAFETY DIRECTIONS:
Remember to be COVID-SAFE at all times.
COME IN A CAR WITH PEOPLE YOU LIVE WITH TO COMPLY WITH COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS.
Wear a mask or bandana.
If you have access to it, bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant and use regularly as needed.
Stay in your car, and maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing at all times.
Please do not come on foot or with a bike or skateboard.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT FOLLOWING THESE SAFETY TIPS DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT OUR RIGHTS MAY NOT BE INFRINGED UPON. WE WANT TO BE AS TRANSPARENT AS POSSIBLE WITH POTENTIAL PARTICIPANTS.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS (LEGAL) SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS:
If you have a passenger in the car, have them follow updates and safety directions from @xformjusticeoc or #JUSTICEFORANTHONY #NOMOREJAILDEATHS #INVESTINPEOPLENOTJAILS Instagram and Twitter posts.
During the action itself, IF YOU HAVE A PASSENGER, post photos and videos with #JUSTICEFORANTHONY #NOMOREJAILDEATHS and #INVESTINPEOPLENOTJAILS hashtags and tag @xformingjusticeoc
Please do not talk to law enforcement.
If you are pulled over, alert the group over the call.
Make sure you have a licensed driver, and current registration and proof of insurance with you.
We will be complying with all traffic laws, including yielding to pedestrians, and red lights, (even if it separates cars from the group).
Pay close attention to what is in front of you. Please avoid accidents by maintaining enough distance between you and the car in front of you so as to have time to break.
Keep your hazard lights on, so people know who is part of the action.
We believe that every human being deserves basic care, and that care cannot be given in cages. The spread of this pandemic has only placed a magnifying glass over the cruel, inhumane, and unjust ways that jails cause suffering and fail our communities. One of TJOC’s steering committee members, Michele Musacchio, shared her thoughts on the urgent crisis of COVID-19 in OC’s jails with KUCI.
Today, Cinco de Mayo, 2020, the Orange County Board of Supervisors have approved the $280 million contract to expand the James A Musick expansion project.
This unnecessary project, billed as a “mental health jail” intended to incarcerate the most vulnerable in our community, misappropriates needed resources at a terrible time, a time that makes obvious the need to prioritize de-centralized community-based care over harmful and woefully ineffective law-enforcement and jails. Jails should not be de facto mental healthcare facilities.
Please, email, call, tweet, share. Please do whatever you can to tell Orange County leadership that we want care, not cages. That no one can ever get well in a cell.
Here are resources to help you reach out. A sample email, sample tweets, addresses and contact information are all included in this document. Please, make yourself heard. Your voice matters. We all matter.