Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks and a host of other officials cut the ribbon on a new county jail in Redwood City Tuesday.
Sheriff Greg Munks and a host of other officials cut the ribbon on a new $165 million county jail Tuesday with hopes it will improve inmate outcomes and keep them out of jail in the future.
“This is a new approach to corrections,” said Munks, who noted the current women’s jail is overcrowded and lacks space for programming.
Munks praised two county officials, Supervisor Adrienne Tissier and former supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, for their commitment in building the new 832-bed facility in Redwood City called the Maple Street Correctional Center.
Tissier has spent most of her three terms on the board in various capacities to help the project come to fruition.
The current women’s facility has outdated computers, is prone to flooding and lacks the space for visiting their children, Tissier said.
“I couldn’t believe how incredibly beautiful it was,” Tissier said about seeing the jail nearly completed.
Tissier even worked a shift at the Maguire jail in downtown Redwood City to get a glimpse of the conditions for both the inmates and correctional officers who oversee them.
The jail will start housing inmates March 19.
Jacobs Gibson was lauded for putting an emphasis on making the jail transformative.
“She was an important voice in the early stages of the process,” Munks said. She pushed for the jail to be transformative and to have more transitional beds, he said.
County Manager John Maltbie praised the project for coming in on time and under budget.
“A safe community is one where people don’t repeatedly commit crimes,” Maltbie said.
Detective Sal Zuno, public information officer for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, gave a guided tour of the facility before the ribbon cutting with the building’s project manager Sam Lin.
The new jail will be certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold, has more than 200 cameras and more space for programming, Zuno said.
“The primary goal is to reduce overcrowding in a new efficient building,” Zuno said. “It’s about rehabilitation, providing them skills and giving people a second chance.”
The ribbon cutting was attended by dozens of law enforcement agents with the Sheriff’s Office and cities.
Many shared stories in the parking lot of working at the old jail and what the conditions at the new the 260,000-square-foot jail might be.
“This project was never about simply building a larger jail to house more inmates. Instead, this facility represents our commitment to improving the lives of the men and women who are in our care and custody. We will do so by conducting meaningful assessments of their needs and by providing innovative programming to improve their chance for a successful re-entry into our community,” Munks wrote in a statement.
The Jail Planning Unit formed in 2007 in response to significant overcrowding at the Maguire Correctional Facility which houses male inmates and extensive maintenance issues including flooding at the Women’s Correctional Facility on Maple Street.
Occupancy will begin March 19 with female inmates and transitional housing occupants. Approximately one month later, male inmates at Maguire begin their move. Maximum security males will remain at Maguire as will some pretrial and presentenced inmates. All bookings will also be done at Maguire.
The 4.8-acre parcel on the former Chemical Way site east of Highway 101 across from the Redwood City Police Department was chosen after a series of community meetings and collaboration with Redwood City officials to acquire a location outside the downtown core.
Board of Supervisors President Warren Slocum said the new jail is designed with the mindset that the county is temporarily housing inmates and providing the opportunity to earn the building blocks for a brighter future.
“It’s not a warehouse with a revolving door,” Slocum wrote in a statement. “Our goal is to help our inmates return to their families, return to their communities and be able to lead productive lives.”
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