Built in 1961, County Jail 4 is the third jail that the city will have closed since 2010.
Last year, Mayor Breed announced a plan to move incarcerated people out of the jail no later than July 2021. The Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance in May that moved the proposed closure date to no later than November 1, 2020.
We need to continue to reform our criminal justice system to prevent crime in the first place, end the use of incarceration as an answer to social problems, and reduce recidivism. We are all safer if we address the root causes of the majority of criminal behavior.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) August 25, 2020
"San Francisco has led the nation in advancing justice reforms for decades, and the closure of County Jail #4 is part of our broader efforts to shift resources towards alternatives to incarceration that are more effective at creating a safer society for us all," said Mayor Breed in a statement.
"Thanks to Sheriff Miyamoto's leadership, we are able to move forward on closing the jail earlier than we originally planned. We need to continue to reform our criminal justice system to prevent crime in the first place, end the use of incarceration as an answer to social problems, and reduce recidivism. We are all safer if we invest in measures that address the root causes of the majority of criminal behavior. This includes keeping up our programs to divert people to services instead of incarceration, and offering pretrial diversion for those who do not pose a danger to themselves or others with our partners in the court and criminal justice system."
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In an announcement, Sheriff Miyamoto said, "When I became Sheriff, I committed to closing County Jail #4. It had outlived its useful life and was seismically unsafe, putting the people in custody, Sheriff's staff, contractors and the visiting public at risk."
People from County Jail 4 will be rehoused in either County Jail 5 in San Bruno or County Jail 2 at 425-7th Street in San Francisco.
Since COVID-19 hit, jail and prison populations have been especially vulnerable. While San Francisco county jails have not been immune from the virus, Sheriff Miyamoto and his jail management team, working with Jail Health Services to limit COVID-19 exposure and prevent an outbreak in the jail. While the closure of County Jail #4 reduces custody space, the Sheriff's Office has and continues to develop prevention and safety protocols to intercept and control the virus.
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San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju said, "The COVID-19 crisis, coupled with the national Black Lives Matter movement, has shined a light on just how important it is for us to be looking at all of our systems, including our law enforcement institutions, through a public health lens as well as a racial justice lens. We have both the responsibility and the opportunity to reexamine our response to harm and the needs of our community by shrinking our jail system in every way possible, and closing County Jail 4 is a critical part of that process."
"We were able to reduce the jail population by approximately 40% by relying on incarceration as a last resort and working closely with our reentry partners to expedite safe release, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a news release. "This significant reduction in the jail population-all while crime rates declined-demonstrates that mass incarceration does not make us safer."