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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Violence on the rise in California’s county jails

Lodi NewsWhen the state Legislature passed a realignment plan in 2011, they hoped to reduce
overcrowding in California’s prisons. But since its adoption, there has been an alarming unintended consequence: Violence in county jails throughout the state has soared.

Assaults by inmates on other inmates are up, and assaults by inmates on corrections officers have risen as well, according to a News-Sentinel investigation.

Because of realignment, the world of county jails has changed.

And jail officers say it has brought more violence, more gang connections and more contraband into their lockups.

“The long-term housing of offenders that are accustomed to serving time in state prison brings a level of sophistication and politics that does not normally present itself at the local county jail level,” said Kim Moule, captain of custody for the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.

It also comes at a time when budget cuts have forced jails to lay off staff. So while officials try desperately to adapt to new circumstances and expectations, inside jailhouse walls a war rages on.

In the Sacramento County Jail, assaults on staff increased more than 160 percent from 2011 to 2012. In the San Joaquin County Jail, inmate-on-inmate assaults increased nearly 40 percent in 2012. In the Yuba County Jail, inmate-on-inmate assaults increased more than 80 percent in 2012. In the San Diego County Jail, assaults on staff increased more than 50 percent in 2012 from the previous year. continue reading...

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