Decarcerate Sacramento was founded in 2019 by a group of Sacramento County residents who have been impacted personally by incarceration. We are also survivors of violence who know that punishment does not prevent harm in our communities. We formed in response to a jail expansion planned for the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC), and we successfully stopped this project in November of 2019 through community organizing both inside and outside of Sacramento County jails.
In January 2020, just a few months after the board voted to cancel the RCCC jail expansion, the County attempted to reconsider this project through a Grand Jury report supported by Sheriff Scott Jones and then CEO Nav Gill. We again, successfully organized to prevent the county from restarting the RCCC jail expansion plan. In April of 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, the county Board of Supervisors, without any means for live public comment during their meeting, voted to approve an architectural contract with Nacht & Lewis, an architecture firm that built the current downtown jail, to begin designing a “Correctional Health and Mental Health Jail Annex” of the downtown Sacramento County Main Jail. The county believed that this was necessary to meet the recently settled Mays v. Sacramento consent decree. But Decarcerate Sacramento knew this was false, and worked to expose the truth: that a new building would not solve the human rights abuses outlined in the Mays consent decree. Only reducing the jail population, and changing policies and culture inside the jails, could do this.
In March of 2021, after years of Decarcerate Sacramento shifting the public narrative around jail system issues in Sacramento County, the Board of Supervisors voted to cancel the plan to expand the downtown jail after hearing from hundreds of community members urging them to instead reduce the jail population. Since then, County leadership changed the scope of work of Nacht & Lewis’s original architectural contract, tasking them to produce a “study” that would justify why the county needed to build an extension of the downtown jail. The County also created the Public Safety & Justice Agency, with the stated goals of reducing the jail population and meeting the Mays consent decree.
Before any jail population reduction plan could be implemented, Sacramento County leadership re-proposed the downtown jail annex. Ignoring the facts of the lawsuit, the board voted to re-start their plans for downtown jail expansion on December 7th, 2022. Decarcerate Sacramento continues work to prevent this plan from move forward, and to ensure that the county shifts its budget and policies toward human-centered solutions that will prevent harm and incarceration in our community.
Preventing Jail Expansion
We continue work to prevent jail expansion in Sacramento County.
Budget Transparency and Reinvestment
We advocate for public spending to be transparent and to be invested in life-affirming human services that promote community safety.
Jail Population Reduction
Decreasing Sacramento County jail populations requires a plan that prioritizes strengthening networks of care and resources that heal, decrease poverty, prevent harm and increase capacity for diversion from policing and the legal system.
Decarcerate Sacramento organizes with people who are currently incarcerated in Sacramento County’s two jails. Our Inside/Outside organizing work was co-founded by Black women who were incarcerated in the downtown jail in 2019. We build relationships through letter writing, phone calls and jail visiting to ensure that our work is centering the needs and priorities of people inside. We work to amplify their voices and experiences in all of our advocacy.
Our coalition is primarily made up of individuals who currently have or have had a loved one incarcerated. We understand on a personal level how harmful incarceration is on families and communities. If you or someone you know has been impacted by Sacramento County jails, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We launched our Jail Hotline on July 1st, 2022 to support folks inside with jail conditions and medical advocacy, free books, information sharing, legal research, and more. If you'd like to share the hotline phone # with someone who is currently incarcerated in a Sacramento County jail, please reach out to us.
Read more from court-appointed monitors on the deadly conditions inside Sac County Jails.
About Sacramento County's Jail System.
The percentage of people in Sacramento County Jail who have not been convicted of any crime.
The population of Black folks in the jail population (the total Black population in Sacramento County is 11%).
The number of people in Sacramento County Jail who have been diagnosed with mental illness.
The number of people charged with misdemeanors in Sacramento experiencing homelessness.
Decarcerate Sacramento is a fiscally sponsored project of Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) © 2022