By Nicole Jones
The San Mateo Board of Supervisors plan to discuss possible construction and expansion of jail facilities on Tuesday afternoon. The conservation, sparked by Sheriff Greg Munks’ recent proposal to build a combined men’s and women’s maximum security facility, plans to address how to manage a growing jail population, especially with implementation of realignment right around the corner.
According to a document from the county manager’s office, Munks’ alternatives to building a maximum security prison, includes a “full build” containing 680-744 secure beds plus 88 transitional beds, and a “phased/partial build” with 488-552 secure beds and 88 transitional beds.
But Munks may face some resistance from Board of Supervisors at the Tuesday meeting who want to explore alternatives to building more jail beds. “The County faces the imminent but still unknown impacts of Realignment,” said a letter from County Manager David Boesch to the Board of Supervisors. “What we do know is that the State correctional reforms require that we do reduce recidivism by implementing more cost effective programs at the local level. Exchanging prison beds for jail beds will not be a successful strategy.”
The Board plans to ask Munks about the implications and alternatives to building additional jail facilities. Among those questions will be whether building a maximum security jail will result in safer neighborhoods, and what other criminal justice partner agencies and nonprofits are willing to do to help manage the County’s jail population.
In a previous presentation for the Board, Munks estimated that the cost to build a new maximum security facility the size he proposes will cost $145-165 million plus annual operational costs upwards of $30 million. Currently the Maguire and Maple Street jail facilities only have 834 beds for the average daily inmate population of 1,000. Munks estimates that the County’s average daily population will rise to 1400 by October of 2012. With at least a full-build prison, Munks projects they’ll be enough beds to house the influx of inmates.
The County qualifies for AB900 funding and in the next year could receive part of the $1.2 billion in lease-revenue bond financing for building a new jail facility.
The Board of Supervisors special workshop on jail planning will be held at 455 County Center, Room 101 in Redwood and starts at 3pm.