San Mateo Sheriff Greg Munks said emptying the Maguire Jail is not the appropriate solution for the jail overcrowding problem.
This has been a hot-bed issue since Oct. 2011, when the California Prisoner Realignment program went into effect. Under the mandate, persons serving time in state prisons for non-violent, non-sexual and non-serious offenses would be transferred from state to county facilities in order to serve out the remainder of their sentences. This mass influx of inmates has caused many county facilities, including the Maguire Jail, to operate at near-capacity.
In a recent OP-ED, Munks points out that the primary reason for incarceration is to maintain the safety of the general public. The entire point of the criminal justice system, he said, is to delve out consequences which are appropriate for the crimes which have been permitted. Some say the county’s increased incarceration rate has done little to deter crime. Munks disagrees.
Crime rates were much higher in the 70s and 80s, he said, when the inmate population was far less than it is today. Recent crime rates are their lowest levels in years. Munks believes this is due to “tough sentences” and a general policy that has public safety listed as a top priority.
Emptying the Maguire Jail is not going to be the solution to the prisoner overcrowding problem, he said. Nor will it be the best solution for the county’s budget woes.