Group Opposes New San Mateo Co. Jail

A verbal sparing match is expected Tuesday in San Mateo county over the issue of whether to build a new $160  million jail.

County leaders want to build a new 576-bed facility on five-acres on Chemical Way in Redwood City, but not everyone agrees that is the right way to spend taxpayer dollars.

The opposition says it will be at Tuesday's San Mateo County Board of Supervisors’ meeting to demand the Board strike the funds from the county’s 2012-2013 budget slated for a new jail.

“Right now the board is following the sheriff’s lead in allocating more and more money on cages and less and less on the health and well being of our residents,” protest organizer Manuel LaFontaine said in a statement.

The sheriff's departments says it needs the beds because the existing jail is already overcrowded and that is before the expected influx of prison inmates transferred to the county under state realignment plans.
LaFontaine said he wants the board to instead reduce jail population by alternatives such as expanding short-term residential treatment for mental illness and drug detox, expanding the number of people served through alternative sentencing, and expanding the Pathways program.

Supervisors are expected to vote on the final budget September 25.

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