Contra Costa Needs More Public Services, Not More Jail Cells


SEIU 1021 members are joining forces with other community activists in Contra Costa County to stop a disastrous plan to divert funds for public services into an expansion of the West County Detention Center. The $95 million expansion is part of the Sheriff’s Office’s attempt to broaden its role in President Donald Trump’s frightening plan to use U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to round up, detain and deport immigrants en masse.

The expansion will require at least $25 million from general and reserve funds, draining crucial community-based human services like rehabilitation and preventive services that protect County residents and help them thrive. Under the rallying cry “Services, Not Cells,” 1021 members vow to stop this wasteful project and the hateful agenda it represents. Spending money to expand West County Detention Center will rob Contra Costa residents of services at a time of increasing need.

In a recent poll of Contra Costa voters, half of the respondents oppose any expansion of the West County Detention Center and more than half believe that the Contra Costa County Sheriff should not collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

“We need to be a county that is proactive and not reactive,” said Champagne Brown, SEIU 1021 member from Contra Costa, “We need to provide vital services in the community and not wait until a crime is committed. We don’t need more room in our jails; currently there are those who are incarcerated and pose no threat to our community but simply can’t afford bail. We also don’t need nor want an increase of beds to ICE and a continuation of terrorizing our immigrant communities.” 

You can help! Go to and add your name to the petition demanding Contra Costa County spend our money on basic services like youth services, healthcare, libraries, law enforcement in our communities and infrastructure, not on a massive jail expansion We need to invest in services for our residents before they end up in jail.

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