The Governor has recommended changes within the state’s prisoner realignment program but Riverside Jails say they will still be flooded with inmates.
The recommended change has to do with the types of offenders that are being transferred from state facilities to county detention centers. At the same time, the county’s 3,906-bed jail system will still be overloaded. There simply aren’t enough beds to detain everyone, according to Sheriff Stan Sniff. Many inmates have been released early because there is simply not enough space to hold them. A spokesperson for the riverside jails said more than 3,300 inmates have gotten an early release this year alone. More than 10,000 have gotten an early release since the realignment took effect.
The county jail system has been trying to find ways to manage the influx of inmates. Some detainees have been sent to work at state fire camps. Others have been released and outfitted with an electronic GPS ankle bracelet. Riverside is still working on adding bed space. An Indio jail expansion is already underway.
Local leaders have said that county jails were simply not designed to hold inmates for long periods of time. They don’t have the same types of medical facilities and ongoing care programs that are already built into state prisons. The county is still struggling to adapt, they said, and they reportedly facing lawsuits from inmates regarding alleged lack of mental health services. That matter is ongoing. Elected officials are hopeful that some of these problems will be resolved after the Indio jail expansion is complete.