Instead of building more jail beds, some Contra Costa County officials and concerned citizens say they want to spend realignment funds to create a system that help offenders successfully return to their communities, reports the community-based news publication Richmond Confidential.
The county’s Community Corrections Partnership, which oversees the $19 million in prison realignment funds from the state, has agreed, announcing they would postpone a decision on jail expansion until they have researched alternatives to incarceration that could reduce jail overcrowding and high recidivism rates.
“This has been an extraordinary meeting, and I hope everyone realizes what a tribute to democracy this whole process has been,” California State Senator Loni Hancock said in a press release. “I am in awe of you guys, I’m in awe of this community and the testimony you’ve given.”
Because realignment shifts offenders from doing time in state prison to county jails, Contra Costa County officials are tasked with managing a growing number of long-term detainees in its jails.
Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston wanted to use the realignment funding to expand the West County Detention Facility with a 150-bed dormitory. He has now asked the CCP to reevaluate the proposal in March, after forming a subcommittee to investigate needed services, bail reform, and a one-stop center for services.
Police Chief Chris Magnus agreed, saying, “I’m not ready to vote for jail expansion at this meeting.”