While many Bay Area jails are already over-crowded, they’re expected to get even worse when a plan to put many offenders and parolees under local (rather than state) supervision. But in what’s some dubiously good news, this is one of California’s few problems that SF doesn’t share, as we have all sorts of vacant jail space. What we don’t have is money, money city officials say we need to properly care for these new prisoners.
As Appeal contrib Chris Roberts reports for SF Weekly, S.F. county jails are presently 1,000 prisoners under capacity, this up from a 400 bed vacancy reported in May.
AB 109, a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to address overcrowding in state prisons and the state’s large budget deficit, was signed into law in April and is set to go into effect on Oct. 1.
Under the new legislation, people convicted of nonviolent, non-serious offenses, as well as adult parolees and juvenile offenders, would fall under local jurisdiction rather than that of the state.
California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation estimates that the realignment will add about 700 offenders to the total handled by San Francisco officials, an increase of roughly 40 percent.
One of the most vacant SF jails, Roberts reports, is County Jail No. 6, which has space for 372 prisoners.
However, you won’t find any of the accused in there today: according to the Weekly, Jail Number 6 “has been used for nearly two years to train sheriff’s deputies,” not house criminals.
With the realignment looming, however, deputies will have to find a new place to train. That’s not the only issue coming up in October: San Francisco Chief Probation Officer Wendy Still said in July that the $5.9 million the state is providing San Francisco is simply not enough to cover the cost of the population shift, which she estimated to be roughly $15 million.
According to Still, the state is providing insufficient funding to the local jurisdictions, saying they are providing between 33 and 50 percent less money for realignment than they were paying to incarcerate or supervise the offenders.
San Francisco Public Defender and Mayoral candidate Jeff Adachi agreed, saying “It’s kind of like losing your job and having your broke cousin show up at your doorstep.”
“Counties don’t have the money to support these programs, and unless we have sufficient resources from the state, realignment will not succeed.”