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ACLU SoCal Communications & Media Advocacy, 213-977-5252,

February 25, 2020

'Mental Health' Jail Plan is Not Effective and Could Lead to Further Abuse

SANTA ANA — On Wednesday, a rally will be held by community groups and activists to protest the planned expansion of the county’s James A. Musick Jail Facility.

The expansion, projected to cost as much as $203 million according to staff reports, is primarily for a major increase in mental health beds. But studies have consistently shown that incarceration, even in supposed state-of-the-art jail facilities, only serves to make people with mental health issues even sicker. And they do nothing to protect public safety because the rate of recidivism for people with mental illness coming out of jails is steep. Community-based treatment has proven to be far more effective and humane.

In addition, OC jails, operated by the sheriff’s department, have a long history of abuse and even questionable deaths of incarcerated people that has not been adequately addressed.

The protest will take place before the county’s public disclosure of construction bids for the project.

WHAT: Rally to demand an end to plans to expand the James A. Musick jail facility into a "mental health jail."

WHERE: Hall of Administration, 333 W Santa Ana Boulevard, Santa Ana.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 1:15 p.m. Public reading of construction bids for the project will start at 2 p.m. in Room 169 of the building.

WHO: Speakers to include:

  • Daisy Ramirez, jails conditions and policy coordinator at the ACLU SoCal (in English and Spanish).
  • Gianni Castellanos, member of Transforming Justice Orange County.
  • Samuel Vance, member of Orange County Racial Justice Collaborative.
  • Dolores Canales, co-founder of California Families Against Solitary Confinement and member of Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition.
  • Roberto Herrera, director of community engagement at Resilience Orange County.
  • Impacted family members.