Much has been said about the jail. Many are wondering how we can make it bigger, better, and more comfortable.
I believe this is the wrong question that will lead us to the wrong solutions.
The question I would like to see us ask is "How do we create a system that keeps people out of jail entirely, specifically the black and brown members of our community?"
The answer to that question can't be simple, because the system by which our black and brown brothers and sisters are disproportionately incarcerated isn't simple. It took us a long time to build and it's going to take us a long time to dismantle. As your county board member, I will build on the work that is already being done by promoting financial literacy, supporting developmental and empowerment programs like Dapper University, and committing to a criminal justice reform framework that focuses on building (and adequately funding) programs, not jails.
I would also work to decrease the current jail population dramatically. Did you know that at least 85% of those currently in jail have yet to be proven guilty? This is an area we can make drastic improvements in, especially if those awaiting trial are non-violent offenders.
I fully understand the need for a safe and secure jail, and I am encouraged by many of the promises the Sheriff has made on this front. However, the Sheriff has little to no say who is jailed and no say in who judges sentence or allow to bond out. As your county board member, I would find ways to work with the Sheriff on the issues we can actually move forward on.