Local officials are concerned over the threat of moving inmates from San Francisco to a shuttered jail in San Bruno, but San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said there is no need for alarm.
San Bruno Mayor Rico Medina crafted a letter to Hennessy requesting more communication between the two agencies, following a newspaper article suggesting San Francisco officials may move displaced inmates to San Bruno by 2021.
After learning of the proposal in a San Francisco Chronicle article last month, Medina shared his displeasure that San Bruno officials were not shown the courtesy of an advance warning.
“I wished I would have heard it before I, or others, read about it in the Chronicle,” said Medina.
The article referenced is “Worried SF’s jail could fail in the Big One, Breed orders inmates moved by 2021,” from the Thursday, Oct. 17, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle in which officials discussed the faulty conditions of San Francisco’s county jail on Bryant Street.
According to the article, Hennessy proposed rehabilitating San Francisco’s shuttered County Jail No. 6 at 1 Moreland Drive near Skyline Boulevard in San Bruno to house 300 inmates who would be displaced from the Hall of Justice. Mayor London Breed said the Hall of Justice should be replaced because it is dilapidated and unlikely to survive a major earthquake, fueling considerations of where to place inmates, according to the article.
While compassionate to the challenges facing his San Francisco counterparts, Medina said he wished more communication would have taken place between the two agencies.
“If we were going down that consideration and path … then I would hope that we have an open dialogue and communication,” he said.
Hennessy though attempted to quash such concerns in a response letter claiming San Francisco officials are disinterested in following through with the proposal to send inmates south.
“We have not made any progress on moving this proposal forward and do not expect further action. I or my successor, Sheriff-elect Paul Miyamoto, will keep you posted early in our process should anything change,” said the letter Tuesday, Nov. 12.
In the San Francisco Chronicle article, Hennessy suggested the costs associated with the extensive renovations required to bring the San Bruno facility up to code for 300 inmates would rival the expense of building a new jail.
A San Francisco Chronicle article last year noted planning rehabilitation for County Jail No. 6 would cost between $9 million and $12 million.
“This is not the best plan, by the way,” Hennessy said, according to the article from Oct. 25, 2018. “But it’s the only plan I’m left with.”
Closed since 2010, the former minimum-security facility once held 372 beds, but is deemed to offer insufficient classrooms or visiting facilities and features no kitchen or laundry services. It is located near the new San Francisco jail in San Bruno which was opened in 2006.
In her letter to Medina, Hennessy also noted San Francisco officials had discussed the opportunity to reopen the facility with former San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson when the proposal was first raised in 2017.
For his part, Medina said he appreciated the reassurance from Hennessy that the relocation is not currently on the table.
“That, to me, is a little better,” said Medina, who again suggested some of the disgruntlement from San Bruno officials could have been avoided with improved communication from the outset.
He added there is limited concern around the facility currently, but that could change if discussions of reopening the jail gained momentum.
“We just want to make sure the community is protected and that our residents feel confident and comfortable,” he said.
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