Less than a month after the Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected a new $380 million jail to replace the decrepit Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant, another plan is on the table, and as per the usual in San Francisco, there’s already controversy.
[jump] Yesterday, District Attorney George Gascón (who gets sworn in to his second term this afternoon) called a press conference where he and Supervisors Jane Kim, David Campos, and Malia Cohen called for a new behavioral health center that would house mentally ill inmates.
As KTVU reports, Gascón's plan calls for “rapid mental health assessment, outpatient treatment facilities, diversion programs for low-level offenders and secure facilities for those waiting for treatment beds.” A working group will draft recommendations.
“Look at almost any street corner in SF. We have a mental health crisis and San Franciscans deserve relief,” Gascón tweeted yesterday. Supe Kim shared the love, tweeting that she was proud to stand with “courageous elected leaders” who oppose incarceration.
Sounds promising, except Board of Supervisors president London Breed reportedly felt shortchanged by the presser. In the Chronicle, she accused Gascón of “naked grandstanding,” adding, “I introduced legislation to create a working group last month. If Mr. Gascón wants to be a policymaker, he should run for Board of Supervisors.”
As the Chronicle notes, Gascón was an early opponent of the new jail, while Breed was on the fence before finally coming out against it and urging her fellow supervisors to follow suit.
“It’s time to tear down not just a building but the entire system of mass incarceration,” Breed said at the Dec. 16 vote that put the kibosh on a new jail.
Gascón's office is taking the high road in response, telling the Chronicle that there’s no conflict, just a desire to get to work.