Patrisse Khan-Cullors said fixing the prison system in LA is just the beginning.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Co-Founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and Dignity Power Now, is adding another accomplishment to her name. On April 7, the activist will launch Reform LA Jails and Community Reinvestment Initiative.
According to the American Union Civil Liberties, the Los Angeles County Jails has a population of about 22,000 inmates. Khan-Cullors’ initiative is seeking to reduce the population and to provide an alternative solution to incarceration.
Khan-Cullors said the Los Angeles County Jail system targets people who are homeless, and that 25 percent of inmates are mentally ill.
“The Los Angeles County Supervisors plans to invest $3.5 billion dollars into building two new jails. Our jail system is broken. It’s costly and ineffective, wasting millions of dollars to incarcerate people struggling with mental illness, addiction and homelessness,” Khan-Cullors said in a statement to Blavity.
The project is bigger than just LA, and that nationwide the criminal justice system is broken, she stated.
“There’s also been a history of a lack of transparency and accountability for misconduct and abuse by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, and unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen in Los Angeles, but nationally. It’s time for criminal justice reform, public transparency, and accountability, and my hope it starts here.”
According to the Economist, LA jails house 38 percent more people than it can safely accommodate. Khan-Cullors hopes to bring together activists and civil rights organizations to petition for prison reform with her initiative. Her goal is to get 150,000 signature before June 11 to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.