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Jail expansion - it ain't over 'till it's over

What happened?

This year we saw the County bring back its plan to expand the jail, despite the community having previously blocked an expansion on 3/10/21 (to learn more click here). Once again, the public has been lied to & the county is breaking promises made to explore solutions other than a jail expansion.

Back in September (09/14/22) the Sac County BOS received reports (agenda doc linked here) from "experts" that claimed to support the need for the construction of a new jail. No decision was made at this meeting. The item was brought back to the Board in December; presentations regarding the proposed expansion and public comment took place on 12/7/22, and the following day, 12/8, the Board voted in favor of approving the jail expansion plan.

As a brief reminder, Sacramento County is under a consent decree (Mays Consent Decree) that provides a legal mandate to remedy some of the abuses taking place in the jails - summary below:

[Sacramento County jails] failed to provide constitutionally required mental health and medical care to people in the jail, employed harsh and extreme forms of solitary confinement, failed to implement essential suicide prevention measures, and discriminated against people with disabilities (Mays v. County of Sacramento, 2019)

Tifanei Moyer, attorney and founding member of Decarcerate Sacramento, tweeted an explanation about how consent decrees and the legal system behind them are disconnected from the real needs of people trapped in jails and prisons, and how these "solutions" to abuse within the carceral system can end up causing more harm by providing governments with an excuse to pour more money, time, and resources into already bloated and corrupt carceral facilities.


We want to emphasize the the fight is FAR from over! There's much more to be done before we get anywhere near construction! We'll get into more details regarding outcomes and next steps at the end of this piece - first we're going to dig into the meeting.

How was the meeting structured?

As usual the meeting kicked off with comments on items off the agenda, and then rolled into presentations relevant to item 2 - Report On Population Reduction Efforts And Request For Direction On Steps To Address Jail Facility Deficiencies For Mays Consent Decree Compliance.


The first presentation (almost 2 hours long) was given by Eric Jones, Deputy County Executive of the Public Safety and Justice Agency - his presentation slides can be found here.

As predicted, this presentation was full of bureaucratic nonsense designed to push for the expansion. The county staff coordinated across departments to provide a united front in the fight to grow the jail... without using those words of course; if you asked any of the staff, they would tell you that picked the most prudent, cost effective, and beneficial option.

Some particularly enlightening slides can be found below: