Attention All Healthcare Providers and Advocates: The Economic Justice Committee (EJC) asks for your help in improving health and safety conditions in Alameda County jails

Attention All Healthcare Providers and Advocates: The Economic Justice Committee (EJC) asks for your help in improving health and safety conditions in Alameda County jails.

Kehilla’s Economic Justice Committee (EJC) had a full committee retreat on August 26, coming away with renewed energy to focus as a committee on the Live Free work of Oakland Community Organizations (OCO). OCO is a community group with which EJC and Kehilla have had strong connections for a number of years.

In a report due out on October 2, the OCO Live Free Committee examines what happens to people incarcerated in Alameda County jails, including Santa Rita Jail and the Glenn Dyer Detention Facility. EJC member Richard Speiglman has been working with other members of Live Free for the last 12 months as the Live Free Committee has researched health and other conditions for inmates at the two jails. This research compares current conditions against baseline standards for a healthy, safe jail or prison environment. On and after October 2nd there will be multiple opportunities to pick up a copy of the report and several venues to hear about the results.

Articles in local media have described many areas of concern: deaths both in-custody and at a BART station following late-night release from Santa Rita; inadequate healthcare for pregnant women; and increasing costs despite decline in number of inmates. Several individuals working on the report say their focus on jail conditions evolved from information about the Sheriff’s Office’s inadequate attention, for those in detention (whether sentenced or pre-sentence) to services needed to promote successful re-entry.

The EJC is working with the Ella Baker Center and OCO’s Live Free Committee to request an independent financial management and performance audit of the Sheriff’s Office in order to spotlight the areas of concern, including appropriate use of state and local monies for the jail, and see efforts for real change on behalf of those being detained in our jails.

To that end, there are several actions you can take:

1. Sign on to a letter to Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Wilma Chan, encouraging an independent audit of the Alameda County’s Sheriff’s Office. The letter details some of the more egregious health issues in the jails. All Kehilla health care providers and advocates, working privately or in organizations, active or retired are encouraged to sign the letter with your name and title and affiliation if you have one. If your organization wants to sign, the name and title of an authorized person and the full name of the organization is required. Below is a link to the letter:

Letter to Wilma Chan.pdf

To sign the letter, please send an email to Jose Bernal, jose@ellabakercenter.org with the above information. The letter will be given to the Board on October 2 so it is most helpful if you send the email to Jose by October 1.

2. Ask your friends and colleagues from outside Kehilla to do the same.

3. Join the Tuesday, October 2, 2018, rally, starting at 9:30 am at Glenn Dyer Detention Facility, 50 6th Street, Oakland, followed by a march to the Alameda County Administration Building at 1221 Oak Street.

Goals are to hold Sheriff Ahern accountable for:

• Violating California’s state sanctuary laws and cooperating with ICE
• Increasing his $443 M annual budget while the jail population decreases
• The 34 in-custody deaths that have occurred under his watch since 2013.
• Abuse and civil rights violations by deputies

You can help hold the Sheriff’s Office accountable by attending this event.

If you have questions about Live Free, please contact Richard Speiglman, rspeiglman@gmail.com. If you are interested in the EJC, please contact Karen Rachels, karenrachels@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.