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County Jails To See Influx of Inmates Starting in July

Audio

Aired 6/6/11

On the heels of the recent Supreme Court ruling that California must reduce its prison population, San Diego County jails are preparing for a big shift come July 1st.

The entrance to the booking facility at downtown San Diego's county jail.
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Above: The entrance to the booking facility at downtown San Diego's county jail.

The Supreme Court ruling, which is meant to relieve overcrowding in state prisons, may end up bloating the county jails population instead.

State prisons must shed about 33,000 inmates in the next two years. But before that happens, sentencing laws will change, so that people who normally end up in state prison will be staying in county jail up to two or three years at a time.

"Obviously capacity is going to dictate how many folks we're allowed to let into our facility," said Captain Daniel Peña, who runs Downtown San Diego's central jail. "Temporarily, our bookings are down a little bit, but not much. But again we anticipate that's only going to get higher in the next few years."

San Diego County jails have a capacity for up to 5,200 inmates. Currently, local jails are about 1,000 inmates below capacity.

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