I invite readers who believe that our county needs a new jail to visit the website sbjailfacts.info. It’s the product of hundreds of hours of investigation. It appeared that we would need a new jail in the 1990s, but since then the number of sentenced prisoners has fallen in half, and the jail is overcrowded merely because the number of pretrial defendants held in the jail has increased from 45 percent of the total to over 70 percent. If the previous rates of pretrial detention had held, the jail would be hundreds under its rated capacity. The existing jail’s rated capacity is already larger, given our population, than the jails of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, and also larger than the state average although our crime rate is considerably lower.
The campaign for a new jail is the work of the powerful pro-incarceration lobby. If you have doubts, go to the website. All the links to original data are there.