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Don't be fooled: there's a $10 million plan for a new jail in the works

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

On November 17, we expect the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) to vote on another $10 million allocation for the new jail plan, or what they’re calling a “Correctional Health and Mental Health Services Facility”, a new tower next door to the main jail.

(photo courtesy of Decarcerate Sacramento)

They say this new jail will not add beds, but this is of course still a jail expansion. It’s an expansion of space, and more importantly RESOURCES, that our community desperately needs.

We do not yet know how much this jail will cost, but the county plans to essentially take out a loan, or a bond, for hundreds of millions of dollars, that will add the county’s mounting debt and take decades to pay off.

(photo courtesy of Peoples Budget Sac)

This new jail is the county’s solution to the Mays v. Sacramento consent decree, which outlines hundreds of policy changes needed in the main jail and strongly urges the county to decrease jail populations in order to reduce the cost of meeting the terms of the lawsuit.

In the County’s plan to meet the consent decree, they are failing to address the root causes of incarceration and involvement with the criminal legal system. They are also failing to recognize that the consent decree strongly recommends a significant, sustainable decrease in jail populations to reduce the financial burden of meeting its terms. The county is not asking “what can be done now to change procedures and cultures that created the conditions addressed by the lawsuit.” They are not asking why the lawsuit happened in the first place. Perhaps most importantly, the county has failed to explain or provide evidence for why their plan to build a new jail tower is the best way forward.

If the county chooses to move forward, this symbolizes that the county does not expect or plan to be successful in decreasing jail populations or reducing incarceration in Sacramento county in any significant way. Even after the jail populations have decreased by over 35% already from COVID-19 releases. There is currently no real plan to reduce the jail population, and there is currently no plan for community engagement in this process. So the county is planning to fail on their current population reduction efforts if they continue with their new jail plan

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