Riverside County jails have long been lamenting over increased capacity and overcrowding since the implementation of the state’s prisoner realignment program. Now members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department have said they are considering an expansion of the Indio Jail in hopes of alleviating some of the problem.
KCET.org has reported Riverside has a greater than average inmate population when compared to other counties. In fact, that number is approximately 129% higher than those seen throughout the state. In 2010 alone the county spent $149 million more due to their inmate population at the level it is.
A Sheriff’s spokesperson estimates the county’s jail system has just under 4,000 beds, said the report, and a recent proposal to construct a new facility was canned by the County Board of Supervisors. Now, a 1,250 bed expansion at the Indio Jail is being more closely examined. If approved, the cost is estimated to be somewhere in the realm of $254 million.
Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff has called it a “modest” increase.
Opponents of the plan say the primary focus should not be on adding bed space, but rehabilitating offenders, instead. Others suggest the state reconsider its stringent “Three Strikes” law in an effort to keep persons convicted of simple drug possession from facing decades-long incarceration.
For now, though, no solid plan has been formulated. The discussion is ongoing.