Reinvest CJ4 savings into our community and get the sheriff out of clinics and hospitals!

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Honorable Members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors:

The undersigned community-based organizations urge you to reallocate the costs of now-closed County Jail 4 from the Sheriff’s Department to housing, healthcare, education, and other social services. Two years ago, many of us signed the “Letter to Close 850 Bryant” and we are grateful that CJ4 closed last year. Now it is time to reinvest the resulting savings in our communities. During this month’s city budget process, please revise the proposed city budget to cut the Sheriff’s Department budget by at least $23,234,392 and divert the $22,374,723 usually paid to the Sheriff for providing security to hospitals and clinics. That would free up $46,609,115 to invest in life-affirming services and other programs that will help make our communities safer.

According to the 10/17/2019 Budget & Legislative Analyst Report, for FY20-21 the Sheriff’s Department expected to spend:

  • $13,568,129 on salary for CJ4 staff

  • $5,966,637 on fringe benefits for CJ4 staff

  • $1,841,604 on overtime for CJ4 staff

  • $1,108,495 for CJ4 facility maintenance

  • $310,657 for CJ4 facility maintenance staffing

  • $150,000 for third-party maintenance contractors and services for CJ4

  • $92,865 on professional services, materials, supplies, and personnel equipment for CJ4

The Sheriff’s Department adopted FY20-21 budget included $350,000 for academy training and $41,665 for academy uniforms. Collectively, these expenses total $23,234,392, although the cost has been reported to be as much as $24.7 million.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department continues to budget for armed security at public buildings, including the libraries, Department of Elections, and hospitals and clinics. And while the Mayor’s budget proposal reflects a significant decrease of deputies from public buildings, the Sheriff’s budget does not. The presence of law enforcement at SFDPH harms those seeking care and discourages patients from accessing medical care. In the words of Health Commissioner Susan Christian, “Law enforcement and public health do not really mix well together.” We urge you to support DPH Must Divest’s community-driven safety strategy by expanding the Behavioral Health Response Team and patient support services, reducing deputies at DPH by 22 FTE, and funding the creation of a union-represented community safety team in primary care clinics. We oppose the expanded use of non-uniform Sheriff cadets at the DPH, and the continued presence of Sheriff deputies at SFGH. We join our communities to demand investment in the wellbeing of all San Franciscans through programs that provide alternatives to policing. The Sheriff’s Department adopted FY20-21 budget included receiving $29,859,747 from other departments’ expense requests, including $22,374,723 from hospitals and clinics.

When we shut down 850 Bryant, we envisioned a City that does not rely on incarceration and policing, but rather a City that meaningfully invests in services and robust strategies proven to keep us all safe. The Budget Justice Coalition has prepared a list of services asks totaling $232,376,390. To cite just one example among many, Compassionate Alternative Response to Homelessness (CART) seeks to replace criminalization with care for unhoused San Franciscans: police dispatch calls would be rerouted to community-based street response teams. CART would be funded via General Fund dollars granted by DPH to a community provider: $4,825,000 in FY21-22 and $6,825,000 in FY22-23.

We thank you for your bold leadership in the closure of 850 Bryant, answering our calls to reduce the footprint of jailing in our City. The below-signed organizations now call for the next step. Reinvest those funds in care, not more cages. Please revise the proposed budget to reinvest the savings from closing CJ4 in community care.


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