Mayor’s proposal would cost nearly $412 million and continue to exacerbate racial disparities in the county
MIAMI, FL – As Florida and Miami-Dade County continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19, County Commissioners will consider a jail expansion proposal from Mayor Gimenez costing taxpayers $412 million. This comes at a time when the county should focus all of its efforts on curbing the spread of the coronavirus, where Miami-Dade County has over 75,000 new cases and 1,246 deaths.
The ACLU of Florida urges the Miami-Dade County Commission to reject the jail expansion proposal and released the following statement:
“All over the country, communities and lawmakers are coming together to reduce jail populations recognizing that mass incarceration has not made us safer. People are coming together to revisit budgets related to incarceration and examine how we can reallocate funds from our broken criminal justice system to invest in resources and services that better serve people.
“Instead, Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez is proposing a $412 million dollar plan to expand our jail system. A jail expansion in Miami-Dade County would disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities, immigrants, and people who do not come from wealth. These same communities are the ones who are also disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
“Researchers have already found that Florida’s economy and residents are more vulnerable to the economic effects of COVID-19 than those of any other state. Florida ranks 29th among states in the resources it has to cope with these effects, and using taxpayer dollars to fund a jail expansion, especially during this time, would be extremely harmful to residents of Miami-Dade County.
“Every day in Miami-Dade County over 3,200 people are already sitting in jail pretrial simply because they do not have the money to pay for their freedom. Commissioners should instead look at proposals that address pretrial detention instead of expanding an inflated and inequitable jail system. There are more pressing and relevant needs the community has, such as housing, healthcare, public space, and jobs programs. A new jail system that comes with a $412 million dollar price tag is most certainly not what the community needs right now.”