0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Buffer 0 0 Flares ×

The county board of supervisors is considering a plan that would add more than 1,600 beds to the San Joaquin County Jail.  The current facility is rated to hold 1,333 detainees.   An expansion would grow that number to nearly 3,000.

More beds are needed, according to some of the supervisors.  The county is still struggling to deal with additional inmates due to the state's inmate realignment program.

Jail overcrowding

The realignment took effect in Oct. 2011.  It was during that time that Gov. Jerry Brown ordered non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual offenders to be shifted from state prisons to county jails.

Local corrections departments have been trying to find ways to deal with additional offenders.  Many have reported that they are running out of bed space.  This is causing them to release low-level criminals, such as those who are accused of minor non-violent crimes, before their sentences are up.  In some cases, people who are freshly arrested are back out on the streets in less than a day.

The supervisors have said that law enforcement officers frequently encounter these individuals a short time later.  They are often found to be committing the same crime.   San Joaquin County Jail officials feel there needs to be a better solution.

The current facility was not designed to hold sentenced inmates for long periods of time.  County jails were constructed with the idea that detainees would not be held there for more than 12 months, they said.  Many are struggling to bring long-term health and mental health care services up to par.   Others have said their local probation departments are starting to feel overwhelmed.

In recent months, a previously vacant wing of the county jail has reportedly been transformed into an acute care center.   A detached prison hospital is in the process of being built.  The supervisors understand that the facility needs additional upgrades and the capability to house more inmates.  It also needs to be able to function as a prison.

A final vote on whether to approve the San Joaquin County Jail is still pending and is likely to take place in the upcoming weeks.