Mexican American Bar endorses L. A. jail reform, urban reinvestment initiative
MABA attorneys urged to support Reform L.A. Jails initiative to bring much-needed oversight to the largest jail system in America
Mexican American Bar Association President Denisse O. Gastélum speaks at a 2017 LA County Board of Supervisors meeting. Board of Supervisors Archives Video
MABA president: “…this initiative promotes a more holistic view of public safety…”; Reform L.A. Jails ballot measure would correct injustices within the L.A. County jail system, provides Civilian Oversight Commission with subpoena power
LOS ANGELES — The Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) of Los Angeles County, this week announced its endorsement of the Reform Jails and Community Reinvestment Initiative.
MABA President Denisse O. Gastelum urged member attorneys to support Reform L.A. Jails to bring much-needed oversight to the largest jail system in America.
“MABA supports this initiative because it promotes a more holistic view of public safety that is centered on accountability of public institutions and alternatives to incarceration,” Gastelum said.Currently, in the signature-gathering phase, the Reform L.A. Jails ballot measure would correct injustices within the L.A. County jail system by providing the Sheriff’s Department Civilian Oversight Commission with subpoena power to ensure lawful investigations of inmate abuse and other deputy misconduct.
“For years misconduct in [the] L.A. County jail has not been sufficiently addressed. Two years of a Civilian Oversight Commission and still no substantial advancements towards justice have been achieved,” said Reform L.A. Jails Campaign Director Jasmyne Cannick. “This ballot measure changes that and moves the Commission from being merely advisory to having actual power to carry out their mission of being a voice for the community.”
In addition to empowering the Civilian Oversight Commission with the tools to independently investigate misconduct, the Reform L.A. Jails ballot measure will task the Civilian Oversight Commision with developing a Comprehensive Public Safety Reinvestment Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan will substantiate the need to invest a portion of the $3.5 billion the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has earmarked to build new jails towards alternatives to incarceration that work to keep people out of jail.
“The perpetual unchecked injustices in [the] L.A. County Jail [system] has created a failed system that only succeeds at oppressing communities of color,” said Reform L.A. Jails Chair Patrisse Cullors. “MABA’s support is crucial to achieving our goal and is a testament to the shared struggles Black and Brown communities face.”
Reform L.A. Jails must collect 170,000 signatures of registered voters in Los Angeles County to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. To get involved with the campaign and to sign the petition, visit www.ReformLAJails.com.