SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Conditions in the Sacramento County Main Jail are not getting any better, and the County Board of Supervisors is hoping an expansion can take care of that problem. But not many people are on board with that idea.
With how overcrowded it is in the jail, the board of supervisors talked about building an addition to the jail on Wednesday, to help alleviate that and provide the necessary health services. But with those talks, many people in the community said that it will not help fix the problem.
Too many prisoners and too few resources at the Sacramento County Main Jail have forced the county to figure out what it needs to do to comply with the settlement of a civil rights lawsuit.
The county agreed to spend millions on more resources and treatment.
“The biggest challenge is that we have this physical space here, downtown, that was never built for the amount of folks who were in there,” Rich Desmond, District 3 Board of Supervisors member, said.
These studies show that even if the jail population is reduced by up to a thousand inmates the county still would not be compliant.
County Supervisor Rich Desmond said he only sees one solution.
“We are building more space at the main jail so we can provide better treatment for the folks who are in there,” Desmond said. “Better treatment for their mental health. Better treatment for their physical health.”
During Wednesday night’s board of supervisors meeting, many people expressed their concerns about the new facility saying it will only add to the problem.
“This is continuously a culture that prioritizes punishment over care and well-being,” Keyan Bliss said
Keyan Bliss and Mackenzie Wilson are both a part of “Decarcerate Sacramento,” an organization focused on minimizing the number of people in jail. They believe the county has better solutions than adding to the existing jail.
“You don’t need another building,” Mackenzie Wilson said. “You can absolutely reduce the number of people inside of this jail, and look at RCCC and begin to make those additions there.”
Supervisor Desmond said the goal of the addition is to not make it an extension of the jail but rather make it a place for people to get help, all while trying to meet the requirements of the lawsuit settlement reached three years ago.
“They will have much more space to provide that treatment,” Desmond said. “The space will be larger so folks with disabilities will make it easier for them to maintain mobility.”
But even with that, there is still a lot of skepticism.
“Let’s get some housing built. Let’s get some services built,” Wilson said.
This is still in its very early stages and we may not see a plan from the county until November.