Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Initiative Convening

Wednesday, January 20, 2021
9:00 am

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Message from the Executive Director of Alternatives to Incarceration May 25, 2021

A year ago today, George Floyd's murder catalyzed a national reckoning with systemic racism and led to a verdict that signaled a new era for accountability in law enforcement. Floyd's murder by a police officer, as well as the other officers who stood by and watched it happen, was a reminder of the senseless state of violence that has plagued our communities for generations. The 9.5 minutes, where we watched his life end, occurred during a time when we were quarantined in our homes and glued to our TVs and devices during COVID. As we witnessed this tragedy, we awoke to the reality that there is still so much work to be done across our country to ensure that each of us gets to live in communities where everyone's human dignity is valued, where we are all treated equally and where all of our rights are safeguarded. As we pause to reflect on the events of last year, we stand with the people who marched in the streets calling for justice for Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Trayvon Martin, Kathryn Johnston, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Alberta Spruill, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, Breanna Taylor, George Floyd, Andres Guardado and so many others. Remembering their names is not enough, and our efforts will have been in vain if we allow this moment in history to pass without making lasting change in our criminal justice and social service systems -- in particular, for the Black, Native, and Brown people who have historically been harmed by them. George Floyd's murder focused our collective attention on our Country's many historic wrongs: the seizure of indigenous lands, the sweat of enslaved peoples and the privileging of certain groups of people over others. Only by advancing anti-racist policies and practices, with a lens towards intersectionality and investing in evidence-based solutions that keep individuals, families and our communities safe and intact, can we truly see enduring change. We all thrive when we (the public sector, the private sector and the community) work in concert to design and support systems that ensure equitable access and opportunities. This is what we are committed to doing in the ATI Office & ARDI Initiative. We do this in the memory of George Floyd and the many other people who deserve justice.

ATI Information and Links:

 

Message from the Executive Director of Alternatives to Incarceration

The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.” – Bryan Stevenson

Dear Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) Work Group Members and ATI Community Stakeholders,

I would like to thank you for joining the first convening for the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Initiative!

As the first executive director of this important initiative, I am honored to serve the community and help lead our County forward in fulfilling the vision of our Board of Supervisors to establish a human-focused approach to justice system engagement that truly prioritizes “care first, jails last.”

As stated during our meeting: Our work will build on the groundbreaking accomplishments of the Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group (Work Group), unanimously established by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on February 12, 2019. The group was charged with drafting a plan to build a more effective justice system. With collaboration and leadership from community stakeholders, the Work Group put forward a comprehensive report that included five overarching strategies, twenty-six foundational recommendations, and 114 overall recommendations. On March 10, 2020, the Board adopted the five strategies, directed the creation of the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) Unit, and directed that the new initiative begin to develop a strategic plan to implement the “care first, jails last” approach in Los Angeles County, all while maintaining continuous stakeholder engagement. I am happy to report that recruitment is already underway for staff positions (Principal Analyst, CEO (Alternatives to Incarceration) - M0830W-R) to support the ATI Initiative. Please review and forward accordingly.

This work has never been more timely.

Soon after the Board adopted the ATI motion, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our world suddenly and drastically, highlighting the central importance of care and health system support, and further exposing a tragic disparity: that the very people deprived of these supports are those who need them most. At the same time, we have witnessed attacks on African American and Latinx men and women, reopening some of our nation’s oldest and most painful wounds, and bringing virtually the entire world into the conversation about institutionalized racism in the American justice system. In the wake of these events, people everywhere have become more vocal about the need for thoughtful, long-lasting and transparent institutional changes to our justice system—changes backed up by data and real outcomes—to reduce racial inequities and improve community health and safety.

As ATI’s first executive director, my role is to fulfill and implement the Board’s “care first, jails last” vision through innovative, data-informed policy design, strategic coordination, transparency and accountability. By way of this initiative, the County will strive to focus on care and preventing contact with the justice system whenever possible, while increasing access to services and the resources needed to maintain community health. This huge feat will take a village. On ATI’s new website  you will find various resources and a calendar of events that include the following convenings, if you, too, want to get involved.

Thursday, December 16, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

Over time, the ATI website will expand to provide additional information and opportunities for engagement.

In this moment, I am grateful and humbled to serve and walk alongside our community as we achieve these goals together.

We know that the success of ATI will enhance the overall health of the County and its residents. With that in mind, please feel free to contact us at ATI@lacounty.gov. This email can also be used to be added to our mailing list. It is our pleasure to serve you!