Non-profit

La Defensa

Website:

ladefensa.org/%20

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Parent organization:

Tides Advocacy

La Defensa is a far-to-radical-left policy advocacy organization that supports all available means to reduce the number of incarcerated people in Los Angeles County including defunding the police. It is a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Advocacy, a passthrough funding and fiscal sponsorship organization. La Defensa advocates for policies that would substantially reduce funding for law enforcement and the judicial system and greatly increase funding for entitlement programs. [1]

La Defensa calls itself an anti-capitalist and feminist movement. [2] The organization uses left-of-center identity politics to justify the creation of a comprehensive list of government-funded social services that are designed to help certain groups of people based on their race, gender, or economic status. La Defensa claims that such programs are essential to decreasing incarceration. [3]

Background

La Defensa is a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Advocacy. It campaigns to have people “decarcerated,” or freed from jails and prisons. [4] La Defensa cofounder Eunisses Hernandez has argued that social programs that promote identity politics-based approaches to race and gender issues are necessary to reduce the number of incarcerated people. [5]

La Defensa’s advocacy is rooted in research which argues that Los Angeles was founded by white men who were seeking economic refuge and exploited all other racial groups to gain power, creating the incarceration system as a means to oppress ethnic minorities. Using this logic, La Defensa supports far-left policies which seek to reduce prison populations. [6]

Advocacy

La Defensa advocates for left-wing policy on incarceration and criminal justice. To prevent incarcerations, La Defensa advocates for creating a vast network of government-controlled social programs to deter individuals from committing crimes. [7]

La Defensa has campaigned in support of Measure J, which was a ballot initiative passed in Los Angeles County during the 2020 general election. The initiative requires that 10% of the county’s budget be spent on social services as an alternative to policing for preventing crimes. La Defensa has argued that the funding allocated under Measure J should be spent on social services such as government-controlled housing and health care, youth programs, counseling, and employment programs. [8]

Additionally, La Defensa advocates for far-left policing policy and legislation to reduce incarceration. The organization has campaigned for policies to exempt certain individuals from being incarcerated prior to going to trial, including those with established behavioral disorders. The organization has also called for decriminalizing any crimes which it claims are associated with poverty, arguing that offenses should be forgiven immediately without penalty. [9]

La Defensa argues that law enforcement should be trained to understand and treat people based on their race or gender identities, using left-wing identity politics ideology. It also argues that law enforcement officers should be tasked with assessing individuals within their communities to decide if they are at high-risk of becoming a criminal, documenting their assessments, and developing plans to prevent these individuals from committing crimes. [10]

People

Ivette Ale is a co-founder of La Defensa. She is a senior policy lead at the left-of-center Dignity and Power NOW and is also a LGBT activist. [11]

Eunisses Hernandez is also co-founder and executive director of La Defensa. She also worked as co-chair of the Measure J campaign. [12]

References

  1. “We Need You: Support the Leaders Fighting for Our Democracy.” Tides Advocacy, April 7, 2020. https://tidesadvocacy.org/news/we-need-you-support-the-leaders-fighting-for-our-democracy/. ^
  2. “Home.” La Defensa, March 11, 2021. https://ladefensa.org/. ^
  3. “Care First, Jails Last.” Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group, n.d. https://ceo.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/1077045_AlternativestoIncarcerationWorkGroupFinalReport.pdf ^
  4. “We Need You: Support the Leaders Fighting for Our Democracy.” Tides Advocacy, April 7, 2020. https://tidesadvocacy.org/news/we-need-you-support-the-leaders-fighting-for-our-democracy/. ^
  5. Interns, Vanguard Court Watch. “Coalition Again Urges CA Governor to Align with Legislature to Support Community-Based Pretrial Services.” Davis Vanguard, June 12, 2021. https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/06/coalition-again-urges-ca-governor-to-align-with-legislature-to-support-community-based-pretrial-services/. ^
  6. “Care First, Jails Last.” Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group, n.d. https://ceo.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/1077045_AlternativestoIncarcerationWorkGroupFinalReport.pdf ^
  7. “The L.A. County Alternatives to Incarceration Initiative.” Los Angeles County, May 13, 2021. https://ceo.lacounty.gov/ati/. ^
  8. “Get Involved – Re-Imagine L.A. County.” Re Imagine. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://reimagine.la/get-involved/. ^
  9. “Care First, Jails Last.” Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group, n.d. https://ceo.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/1077045_AlternativestoIncarcerationWorkGroupFinalReport.pdf ^
  10. “Care First, Jails Last.” Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group, n.d. https://ceo.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/1077045_AlternativestoIncarcerationWorkGroupFinalReport.pdf ^
  11. “Ivette Alé.” Dignity and Power Now. Accessed July 26, 2021. http://dignityandpowernow.org/ivette-ale/. ^
  12. “Re-Imagine L.A. Coalition Reacts to Judge Ruling Against Measure J Fund to Provide $2.1 Million to Address Racial Injustice.” Davis Vanguard, June 29, 2021. https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/06/re-imagine-l-a-coalition-reacts-to-judge-ruling-against-measure-j-fund-to-provide-2-1-million-to-address-racial-injustice/. ^
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La Defensa


Los Angeles, CA