A vote which would have decided the fate of a proposed expansion at the Richmond Jail has been delayed. County officials say the decision came after community leaders, immigration rights proponents and clergy members voiced strong opposition.
Immigration advocates point out that a number of people who are currently detained are being held for no other reason than being undocumented. Faith-based leaders are saying the county should invest more on rehabilitation programs and focus less on creating additional bed space. One went as far as to blast the Sheriff’s Department for failing to treat people who haven’t been sentenced yet in a civil manner.
According to a recent report by the Contra Costa Times, many of the project’s opponents feel bail reform would be a better option. This would allow the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department to better “analyze the risk” of those who may be eligible for bail. They also feel other programs, such as GPS tracking, house arrest and ankle bracelet monitoring should be explored before spending $2.9 million to add 150 beds at the Richmond Jail.
At least one probation officer, though, disagreed. He pointed out the recidivism rates is far below the state’s average. Contra Costa’s rate is just 22 percent, he said, which is significantly lower than the state average of 75 percent.
A reschedule date for the Richmond Jail expansion vote has not yet been set.