To: Phil Serna , Supervisor, Jimmie Yee , Supervisor, Susan Peters , Supervisor, Roberta MacGlashan , Supervisor, Don Nottoli, Supervisor, Ted Gaines (CA-1), The California State House, The California State Senate, and Governor Gavin Newsom

Sacramento Supervisors: Stop the Costly Jail Expansion!

We, the undersigned, write to you in strong opposition to the proposal to expand Sacramento County’s jail capacity in response to realignment (AB 109).

We have been made aware that the Corrections Standards Authority has invited Sacramento County to apply for $100,000,000 of AB 900 Phase II funding to add 384 beds to our County jail. In order to receive AB 900 money Sacramento County must provide a 10% match or $10,000,000/ and all annual operating costs. We do not support any efforts to expand the jail in our County. After reviewing Sacramento County’s Realignment Plan we have strong concerns with using realignment funding or any County general fund money to expand the jail capacity. The Board of Supervisors have already approved the Sheriff Department’s proposal to reopen the Roger Bauman Facility at RCCC. This jail expansion requires $5.98 million, or 46%, of the 2011-2012 realignment budget for the Sacramento County. Every month that the RBF is open costs Sacramento County approximately $700,000. Adding additional beds to the Sacramento County jail will only continue to strap the County’s limited resource. Sacramento County in its’ fourth straight year of budget cuts. Scarce county dollars should go to programs that are shown to work, rather than unnecessarily expanding jail space. Instead, we believe the realignment funding should be utilized to expand community programs and alternatives to incarceration.

As you are probably aware, California counties are already spending anywhere from 70% to 80% of their general fund budgets on public safety and using realignment plan to expand jail capacity could mean the elimination or further reduction of city parks, schools, libraries and municipal support services for youth and elderly populations in the state.   

Expanding incarceration has failed to reduce recidivism rates in California and will only create incentives for the Sheriff to fill the new beds, and to incarcerate rather then find other safe options. The Board of Supervisors has the opportunity to use realignment dollars to increase access to rehabilitation services for people in and outside of our jails, while protecting public safety and reducing costs. There is clear evidence that diversion programs and alternatives to incarceration save money and improve public safety in both the short and long term. The people who will be returning to your county are in need of educational, physical and mental health services, substance abuse and treatment services, and life skills services that could be provided much more cheaply, effectively and comprehensively outside of jail. Strong, independent re-entry services are proven to reduce recidivism and save public dollars.

The State of California decided to fund prisons over all else, it’s time for counties to make a different choice. Making bold moves to stop jail expansion now means counties will have more resources to solve our problems creatively. We urge you to not seek AB 900 funds or to use any of the realignment funding to expand the Sacramento County’s jails.

Why is this important?

In response to the realignment of prisoners to the county jails. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has proposed a $100 million expansion to the County' Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. This expansion would add 384 expensive and unneeded beds to the County's jails. In November, the County Supervisors already approved the reopening of 275 closed cells, costing the county $5.98 million, or 46%, of the 2011-2012 realignment budget for the Sacramento County. Realignment should be utilized to expand community program s and alternatives to incarceration not to build more cages.