|Activists Challenge Plans for New SF Jail|
|By beyondchron.org- Andrew Szeto|
Over the past few years, San Francisco’s jails have seen increased scrutiny by city officials and prison activists alike as their aging and unsafe structures have been brought to light. The two county jails located in the Hall of Justice building are currently the subject of a proposal to be replaced with new, seismically fit, and updated facilities. During yesterday’s three hour Neighborhood Services and Safety hearing at City Hall, supervisors heard from a multitude of officials and community members, all of whom deplored the current conditions of the jails. The hearing comes after the state rejected the city’s funding request of $80 million earlier this month.
The proposed replacement jail project, spearheaded by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, is expected to include a total of 640 beds, 265 fewer than the 905 it will be replacing. The reduction itself could be seen by many to be a positive step in reforming the criminal justice system.
Indeed, this number could shrink even more according to a Budget and Legislative Analyst report commissioned by Supervisor David Campos which suggested that, based on projected future inmate populations, a 384-bed jail would be adequate to house the city’s prisoners at half the cost. The report said the number of jail inmates has declined 30% since 2008, and is expected to continue to decline.
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