(Shasta County Jail building image from the Sheriff's website)
Not long ago we discussed the plan to shift state prisoners into local facilities, as well as the local resistance to the plan. This may not be as feasible as the Governor's office believes, since many local facilities face financial difficulties of their own.
This morning's Redding Record Searchlight reports on more humonetarian occurrences on the local level.
According to the Shasta County Sheriff's website, the Shasta County Jail is a high security facility, with a capacity of 381 inmates, 317 males and 64 females. It seems that this capacity has been reached through aggressive parole revocation operations, and the plan now is to scale back on jail time and on parole operations to relieve the budgetary distress.
Here is what seems to be going on:
Shasta County's drunken drivers, petty thieves and drug users are less likely to serve jail time. Parolees will be given a bit more leeway on violations that can send them back to prison. And even fewer prisoners police bring to the Shasta County jail will spend a night in a cell.
Local officials say that's the reality now that Shasta County's 381-bed jail is 150 inmates smaller.
As jailers have been quickly and quietly working to release a third of the inmates from the jail because of budget cuts, local law enforcement officials have been meeting to plan how they're going to deal with the sudden loss of space at the already chronically full jail.
The decision to clear out a floor of the jail came earlier this month after the Shasta County Board of Supervisors refused Sheriff Tom Bosenko's pleas to find other ways to trim from the county's general fund budget rather than make him cut more than $2 million cut from his budget.
Bosenko has since ordered the floor closed and the layoffs of six jail employees.
Jailers began freeing up jail space almost immediately after the decision, mainly by stepping up their "capacity-release" program that lets newly admitted prisoners go free, often before they'd even had time to post bail.
"We're trying not to do a mass release," said Lt. Sheila Ashmun, the jail's second-in-command.