Read the Complete LANMJ Comments on the Mira Loma Draft Environmental Impact Report
“Breaking the Silence: Civil and Human Rights Violations Resulting from Medical Neglect and Abuse of Women of Color in Los Angeles County Jails” – A Report by Dignity and Power Now and CURB
“Impact of Disproportionate Incarceration of & Violence Against Black People with Mental Health Conditions in the World’s Largest Jail System”, released August 12th, 2014 and included as part of the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s review of the United States, highlights the racial discrimination, medical neglect, and human rights violations that are present within the LA County jail system.
Environmental Impacts Could Endanger People in the Proposed Women’s Jail
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Jan. 11th 2016
Los Angeles, California – The LA No More Jails Coalition, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) and community members submitted hundreds of written statements and a detailed letter challenging the thoroughness and accuracy of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed Mira Loma Women’s Detention Center Project (MLWDC) in Lancaster, CA. BonTerra Psomas prepared the report, dated November 9, 2015, for the Chief Executive Office of the County of Los Angeles.
Tuesday, January 12, 2015, is the deadline for members of the public to submit their comments in response to the DEIR. Los Angeles organizers also requested that the 500-page document be translated into Spanish. BonTerra Psomas published an initial report for the EIR process in September 2014 and members of the public had a designated period of time to reply. The request was not regarded in the most recent DEIR. Diana Zuniga, of Californians United for a Responsible Budget states, “This massive document must be offered in multiple languages in order to provide an open transparent public process in which taxpayers and community members who are most impacted by high rates of incarceration can participate.”
The new women’s Jail, approved on September 1, 2015, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is budgeted to cost $120 million dollars. The DEIR fails to adequately address many serious issues specific to the project site and surrounding area including Valley Fever, increased smog and traffic pollution, potential Native American resources, suitable energy sources, and water resources in the context of drought. The DEIR fails to provide detailed explanations of how significant environmental impacts are reduced and includes vague mitigation measures.
“Placing women in an area recognized as a site for Valley Fever, where 40% of the women will potentially come down with flu like symptoms is a potential health disaster, Sheila Pinkel, LA NMJs member, strongly suggests. “ Not to mention that black and women of Philippine origin will have to be moved because of their sensitivity to Valley Fever.”
The DEIR utterly fails to consider steps to reduce harm to human beings—mothers and children—it does address mitigation measures to protect a nest of eggs, or baby birds, in the construction process. There is no comprehensive list of alternatives to reduce incarceration and recidivism amongst poor women and women with mental illness in Los Angeles County as required by the CEQA process.
“There suitable out-of-custody alternatives that are being increasingly implemented across the state and country are not considered in this DEIR as project alternatives, despite the fact they would satisfy the same project objectives and undoubtedly produce less harmful environmental impacts,” claims Tanisha Denard, Youth Justice Coalition. “Many experts, including our organizations, have repeatedly pointed to reports and evidence based practices that illustrate how recidivism is greatly reduced through programs that employ alternatives to imprisonment and decarceration policies.”
Los Angeles No More Jails is a coalition of organizations and community members joining together to stop jail expansion in LA County. Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) is a broad-based coalition of over 65 organizations seeking to CURB prison spending by reducing the number of people in prison and the number of prisons in the state. CURB seeks member organizations that are working on issues related to the prison industrial complex and organizations concerned about our state budget priorities.