Miyamoto proposes closing SF jail, moving inmates to Santa Rita

San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto announced Friday he’s moving forward with plans to close county jail at the beleaguered Hall of Justice by July 2021.

The plan is in accordance with Mayor London Breed’s proposed deadline for closing Jail #4, located on the hall’s seventh floor at 850 Bryant Street.

Back in Oct. 2019, Mayor London Breed unveiled a plan to relocate several city offices and courtrooms, as well as jail inmates from the Hall of Justice to a new consolidated “Justice Campus” within the next two years. The proposed campus, however, wouldn’t break ground until 2028.

With no other adequate jail to place to the inmates in the meantime, Miyamoto is asking the city to agree on a $50 million capital investment for the renovation of the city’s other existing jails.

The move would minimize the need to redistribute the jail population to out-of-county locations, he said. But until the city agrees on those investments, Miyamoto is proposing relocating up to 100 inmates from the Hall of Justice jail to Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in the meantime.

“We can’t wait any longer,” Miyamoto said in a statement. “County Jail is seismically unsafe, a danger to justice-involved people, deputies, staff and visitors, with an outdated design that does not support educational and behavioral programs for people in jail,” he said.

Closing Jail #4 would save the city more than $10 million annually in operating costs, he said.

Once closed, Jail #4 would become the third jail the Sheriff’s Office has closed since 2010. The combined closures will have eliminated more than 1,000 beds in the city’s jail system without any provisions for replacement beds, he said.

“Over half of the people who are justice-involved await resolution of their cases out of custody,” Miyamoto said. “But when courts mandate incarceration, I need a place to house people safely and humanely.”

Jail #4 was built in 1962 in the Hall of Justice, which is not up to current seismic codes, and has faced numerous recent problems, including sewage leaks and rodent infestations. Once closed, 385 beds would be eliminated from the city’s current stock of jail beds.

Without the Jail #4, the city would be left with just two jails; Jail #2, located at 425 Seventh St., with 392 beds and Jail #5, at One Moreland Drive in San Bruno, with 768 beds.

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