We invite you to read and share the Pilgrimage For a Better Future Resource Guide with educational resources and ways to take action that congregations, school communities, and individuals can use.
In July 2018, the sheriff of Contra Costa County announced he would end his contract with ICE to house about two hundred immigrants in the West County Detention Facility (WCDF) in Richmond, California. The closure was a dramatic moment, after a seven-year public education campaign led by the faith community.
During the months and years before the announcement, congregations and faith-based organizers had educated the public, built a network of relationships with lawyers and community-based organizations, and cultivated champions among elected officials. They had created a safety net of accompaniment and support for detained migrants and their families. When the sheriff decided to end the county’s involvement in detention, detainees, their families, lawyers, and community-based organizations scrambled to respond and adapt.
A year later, after the passage of Assembly Bill 32, we convened some of the key players to discuss the lessons we learned and create this resource.
This guide, created in partnership with the Dignity Not Detention Coalition (DND), provides information and resources around Just Closure. DND defines Just Closure as a phase-out process that ensures people are completely liberated from the cruel conditions of incarceration and are allowed to be reunited with their communities. This includes support beyond release from incarceration, including the ensuing legal battle to fight against deportation proceedings. Our Just Closure Model also calls on elected leaders to reinvest in localities that have been exploited by carceral profiteers that force under-resourced communities to rely on immoral prison pipelines. Just Closures shift power away from carceral punishment systems and empowers local communities to reimagine public safety, health, and restoration.
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), a coalition of more than 80 organizations, is working to reduce the number of people in prisons, reduce the number of existing prisons, and redirect funding to build the infrastructure of vulnerable communities. This report, The People’s Plan for Prison Closure (PPPC) is a visionary roadmap that demands bold commitments to justice reinvestment. It provides detailed recommendations including the prioritization of ten prisons to close in the next five years and why, a call to close all women’s prisons, an analysis of cost-savings to be reinvested in impacted communities, and data-driven information about the roles racism continues to play in both prison expansion and overcrowding.
Thousands of immigrant youth arrive to the US without a parent of legal guardian and are placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) until they can be released to a sponsor. Often ORR detains these youth in restrictive, large-scale, congregate settings that harm their health and wellbeing. Rooted in the stories, experiences, and recommendations of young people who arrived to the US as unaccompanied youth, this resource draws from public health evidence documenting the heath harms of these large-scale, restrictive settings. It puts forward a vision for ending the current system of detaining unaccompanied minors in harmful settings and for shaping health, just, and supportive immigration policies for unaccompanied youth.
Following the work of organizations with experience and expertise in working with unaccompanied youth, including Detention Watch Network and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the resource presents a list of systemic and long-term recommendations that promote the health and wellbeing of impacted youth.
@CADignity – The Dignity Not Detention Coalition is a statewide network of organizations fighting to abolish immigrant prisons. IM4HI is an active member.