Not all taxpayers believe constructing a new San Mateo County jail is the best way to solve the county’s inmate overpopulation problem. The proposed facility would be located on a five acre lot in Redwood City and would have capacity of 576 beds. Some believe that increasing bed space is not the best use of tax dollars. A group of vocal opponents attended last week’s County Board of Supervisors’ meeting demanding the $160 million expenditure be struck from the 2012-13 budget.
One local news source has reported the sheriff’s department said a new San Mateo County jail is necessary in light of the state’s prisoner realignment program. First implemented in Oct. 2011, the program shifted low level, non-serious and non-sexual offenders from state prisons to county facilities. Many counties continue to deal with challenges brought on by the sudden, mass influx of inmates.
Opposition groups feel the money would be better spent on rehabilitation and drug diversion programs. Some point out there are still a number of alternative sentencing programs that have not yet been explored.
A final vote on whether to approve construction of the new San Mateo County jail is not expected to take place until later this month. The matter, said a county spokesperson, is still being evaluated from all sides.