Does SF Need A New Jail? Supes To Discuss Thursday Afternoon

A proposal to build a new jail in San Francisco is the topic of a hearing scheduled Thursday at a Board of Supervisors committee meeting at City Hall.

The city has plans for a new $290 million jail to replace the aging facilities currently housing about 600 inmates on the top two floors of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. The new jail would be built on a site directly east of the Hall of Justice.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and other proponents say the new jail is necessary because the Hall of Justice is a seismically unsafe building with an antiquated design that compromises inmate safety and restricts rehabilitative programs.

But opponents, including District Attorney George Gascon, have said the city should instead focus funding on programs to reduce the jail population and recidivism rates and explore moving the Hall of Justice inmates to a city-owned jail in San Bruno.

Supervisor David Campos called for Thursday’s meeting, which is taking place at the Board of Supervisors’ neighborhood services and safety committee.

“It’s incredibly important that before moving forward on the jail replacement project we engage the public in an open dialogue,” Campos said in a statement.

“A number of community members have approached me to express their concerns about the city spending millions of dollars on a jail at a time when we are undergoing a severe housing crisis,” he said.

According to Campos, the Board of Supervisors will have four opportunities to vote on the jail replacement project—when approving the city’s next capital plan in 2015, upon completion of the environmental review process in late 2015, then when approving the purchase of property and financing for the project.

Thursday’s meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the board chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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