The Santa Cruz community-based organization Sin Barras (Without Prison Bars) is a prison abolitionist group that fights for prisoners’ rights with the goal of ending the Prison Industrial Complex.
Please join our most urgent fight.
At least 6 people have died in the county jail while in the hands of the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department and California Forensics Medical Group (CFMG) since August 2012. In April 2013, we organized a march and speakout, highlighting sheriff violence faced by people inside the County Jail that inspired the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury to investigate the jail’s deadly conditions. The grand jury report named the April 2013 demonstration as a primary catalyst for the investigation.
In September 2014, the Grand Jury released its Final Report, which included recommendations to improve physical and mental health services in the jail. Nearly all of the research was met with utter denial from the Sheriff‘s Department and CFMG, continuing a trend of disrespect for the community and confirming that they operate with little to no accountability.
Sin Barras is organizing a demonstration on January 24th to demand immediate medical and safety measures be met to reduce harm faced by those presently incarcerated.
We demand that the County Board of Supervisors cancel its contract with CFMG and refuse to participate in the current wave of county jail expansion. These deaths are an act of collective punishment against people who are most in need of aid, and who are consistently denied community-based resources and drug treatment. While we fight for immediate solutions, we do so with a commitment to dismantling the prison system once and for all, brick by brick, wall by wall.
The deaths in the jail are caused by the same pattern of unaccountability that recently allowed Officer Darren Wilson to walk free after killing Michael Brown. From Ferguson to Santa Cruz, it is clear that our criminal justice system targets the most vulnerable members of this society: people of color, women, queer and trans people, people with disabilities, the poor, and the homeless.
Without overwhelming pressure from our communities, this pattern will continue.
These are our working demands:
• Cancel the contract with CFMG (Board of Supervisors);
• Issue public, formal apologies to family members of those who died (CFMG and the Sheriff’s department);
• Implement the Recommendations developed by the Grand Jury report;
• Abolish solitary confinement/administrative segregation and other forms of torture;
• Cancel the $26 million planned expansion of Rountree Detention Center and invest in community-based mental health services.
Here is what you can do:
· •Attend planning meetings to organize the demonstration & strategize. For meeting info, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· •Endorse this campaign as individuals and organizations;
· •Write a letter in solidarity with this struggle from yourself or your organization. Distribute through your networks & send to: email@example.com;
· •Share, like, and spread the word with our event page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1574151249488303;
· •Encourage your networks to come to the event and speak out;
Co-sponsored by Sin Barras, Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism (SCCCCOR), and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Santa Cruz
Endorsed by Abolitionist Law Center, Pittsburgh, PA; Bato Talamantez; Cabrillo College Justice League; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; Direct Action Monterey Network; Family of Frank Alvarado Jr., killed by Salinas Police, July 10, 2014; Food Not Bombs; Freedom Archives; George Lippman, Vice-Chair, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, for purposes of identification; Human Rights Coalition (HRC)-Fed Up!, Pittsburgh, PA; International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ); Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign, Pittsburgh, PA; Legal Services for Prisoners with Children; National Boricua Human Rights Network; Peak Women; Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition; Project Pollinate; Rabbi Borukh Goldberg; Ramona Africa and The MOVE Organization; San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper; South Bay/Santa Cruz Facilitators group of the Pachamama Alliance; Suppressed Histories Archives (Max Dashu); Prison Activist Resource Center; Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community; Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
The ideas which can and will sustain our movement for total freedom and dignity of the people cannot be imprisoned, for they are to be found in the people, all the people, wherever they are.”
– Huey P. Newton