January 25, 2022 –
Alameda County: Pack the Court Room!
When: Thursday January 27, 11am PST
Because of our work with the Decarcerate Alameda County coalition to free people from Santa Rita Jail and defund the sheriff, Critical Resistance Oakland has been aware of the impending decision on Babu vs Sheriff Ahern case for some time. This lawsuit, filed in 2017 by the law firm Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld, claims to address the horrendous conditions of mental health inside the jail.
However, even advocates following this 3-year-long, closed door, lawsuit against Alameda County were caught off guard when, in September 2021, the county settled on terms that *increase* the sheriff and jail staff by over 250 positions! Since that time, Critical Resistance Oakland has been organizing with an ad hoc workgroup convened by National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area, that includes reps from Ella Baker Center, American Friends Service Committee, and Oakland Abolition and Solidarity.
Our strategy has included teach-ins, direct action, and the massive effort to assist with the filing of over 100 objections to the settlement by a December 31, 2021 deadline. Most of the objections were by individuals currently or formerly incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail who know that adequate mental health care cannot happen in Santa Rita Jail and pouring more money and resources into the Sheriff’s Department will actually do more harm than good.
These efforts paid off on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 when our community packed the virtual courtroom during what was supposed to be the final hearing on the settlement. Noting the nearly 200 attendees in the courtroom, and the hundreds of objections already filed, the Judge ordered an extension on the hearing, to ensure the voices of people incarcerated in Santa Rita are heard.
The next hearing is scheduled for January 27, 11 am PST when Judge Cousins intends to hear statements from primarily incarcerated class members. We need Community to show up again for this hearing!