San Francisco County Jail Gets Wrecking Ball

Critics say the snail's pace of jail's demolition is typical for California.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    32 years later, Mayor gets around to keeping his promise of demolishing the old jail. (Published Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012)

    San Francisco's outgoing sheriff ended his tenure on a fitting note.

    Michael Hennessey was on hand on Wednesday morning, as a wrecking ball began demolishing the city's old jail in San Bruno. Hennessey came into office 32 years ago vowing to do something about conditions at the Depression-era jail, which he and other critics called deplorable.

    “Never did I realize that getting it done would take years of bureaucratic wrangling, a federal class action law suit, two failed bond measures and a US District Court judge declaring the conditions so bad that they violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment,”  Hennessey said.

    It was shut down five years ago after years of wrangling that included a federal class-action lawsuit. Although a new jail opened next door, the old building continued to stand.

    Hennessey will christen the wrecking ball with a bottle of sparkling cider.

    Why cider?

    Alcoholic beverages are prohibited on jail property.