I thought the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors was very short-sighted when they canceled the expansion of the San Joaquin County Jail. I was shocked and disappointed by their decision. They had access to $80 million from the state for the construction, and now that money will probably be gone forever. They had already spent several million dollars to design the expansion, and now all that money is down the drain, as well.
Supervisor Steve Bestolarides said we should spend more money on the causes of crime like substance abuse, mental illness and the lack of employment. I couldn’t agree with him more. But those things prevent crime in the future; they do nothing to alleviate the overcrowding in the jail right now.
Many prisoners are released from the jail due to overcrowding, and any cop on the street will tell you that many of these have been to prison before, and are not afraid to return to prison again. It is dangerous to have them roaming the streets because there is no room for them at the jail. And it won’t do any good for the police to arrest those who commit crimes if there is no place to put them.
Overall, it would be better to follow the recommendations of Sheriff Steve Moore, and expand the jail to solve the problem today, than to spend millions more to try to solve it in the future. Then we should follow the recommendations of Steve Bestolarides and do what we can to solve the root causes of crime for the future.
Karl Welsbacher Jr.