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Jail Guard Shortage Caused in Part by Activation of Military Reserves

The San Diego County Grand Jury has issued a report finding there's a shortage of guards in a number of the county's jails. As KPBS reporter Alan Ray says, money is not the problem.

Jail Guard Shortage Caused in Part by Activation of Military Reserves

The San Diego County Grand Jury has issued a report finding there's a shortage of guards in a number of the county's jails. As KPBS reporter Alan Ray says, money is not the problem.

At the Central Jail downtown and the all-female Las Colinas jail in Santee, only 66 per cent of guard positions are filled. The downtown facility usually operates at 85 to 90 per cent of capacity. Las Colinas usually holds 675 inmates, though it's designed for only 500. So the guard shortage is particularly acute at those facilities.

The grand jury says the county has the money but lacks a plan for finding people to fill the positions. The Union Tribune reports that the war in Iraq is complicating matters because people who would normally fill guard positions are often in the military reserves and they've been called away to active duty.

The grand jury says the sheriff's department, which mans the jails, is doing a commendable job with the people it has. The report suggests creating a task force or hiring a consultant to develop a jail guard recruiting plan.

Alan Ray, KPBS News.