Incarceration

Ella Baker Center celebrates milestone in bringing restorative justice

With guest speakers and live music, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights celebrated its 25th anniversary Wednesday night, highlighting its work to close prisons and bring opportunities to Black and brown communities in Oakland. “I believe that you can’t have strong communities if you don’t have strong community-centered institutions. And this is that place,” Executive Director Zach Norris said. Named after the famed Civil Rights and NAACP leader, the Ella Baker Center is dedicated to shifting government resources from…

Soul On a Roll food truck serves second chance for new business partners

With a baby boy on her hip, GaQuayla Lagrone arrived in Oakland in 2014 looking for a fresh start. She had served a year and a half in federal prison in San Diego for a nonviolent crime.  “I came up here not knowing my left from my right,” she said.   Today, Lagrone, 37, is one of four people with similar stories who were chosen as future co-owners of the food truck business Soul On A Roll, which opened Friday with…

COVID-19 cases remain stable at Santa Rita Jail despite rising community cases

COVID-19 infections have largely remained stable despite rising case numbers in the Bay Area, according to the latest data published by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). At the time of writing, two people in custody have tested positive, while 11 others are symptomatic and are awaiting test results.  The sheriff’s office has implemented a number of measures designed to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the jail since the start of the pandemic. Compared to other detention…

Oakland Police Department renews contract with controversial forensic data company

Last Tuesday, Oakland City Council renewed the Police Department’s contract with the cloud-based software company Forensic Logic for use of its data-sharing platform COPLINK. COPLINK, which has been used by OPD since 2012, allows officers to search and analyze data shared by “several thousand law enforcement agencies across the United States.”  The contract costs the city a total of $704,000 over a three-year period. The resolution passed 7-0. Councilmember Nikki Fortunato-Bas (District 2) abstained from voting citing concerns over third-party…

Voting rights restored for Californians on parole

After over four decades of disenfranchisement, Californians on parole now have the right to vote. Because the U.S. invests heavily in mass incarceration, the number of people who have lost their right to vote because of their parole status has risen from 1.7 million Americans in 1976 to 6.1 million in 2016. This act would start to reverse those numbers.  In Alameda County, an overwhelming majority of residents voted to make this possible. 74% of the population voted to restore…

Oakland North’s 2019 year in review — our top stories

2019 brought a new group of student reporters to Oakland North from across the country and the globe. We covered a city that is always changing, but where tensions about city finances, policing, housing and the fate of the public schools run deep. We also produced three new episodes of our Tales of Two Cities podcast, which covers audio stories from Oakland and Richmond in collaboration with our sister site, Richmond Confidential. Click here to check out all episodes of the Tales of…