With the numbers of newly sentenced inmates and parole violators vastly exceeding projections, Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston will on Friday unveil plans for a 150-bed expansion at the West Contra Costa Detention Facility in Richmond.
The county would erect the $2 million prefabricated steel structure on a pad next to the existing jail and within the secured operation's fences.
The money would come from the $19 million Contra Costa will receive this fiscal year to help pay for the realignment of lower-level offenders from state prison into county custody.
The new beds will bolster both the county's 1,900-bed capacity and its ability to segregate disparate types of inmates, such as rival gang members, Livingston said.
Contra Costa has received double what the state initially estimated for the number of inmates sentenced to serve time for offenses that would have previously sent them to prison. That figure is triple what the state said to expect for people returned to jail for parole violations.
The jail expansion has come under scrutiny from those who argue the money should be spent on programs that help people stay out of jail, rather than bring more in.
The Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, or CCISCO, protested earlier this week in front of Livingston's Martinez office and later met with him.
In a subsequent written statement, CCISCO wrote that the sheriff was unwilling to
Contra Costa County leads the Bay Area in holding illegal and legal immigrants for deportation, according to statistics from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The federal agency has deported more than 1,600 people it picked up from Contra Costa County jails since the county joined a federal fingerprints-sharing network in April 2010. About 40 percent of those deported hadn't been convicted of a crime.
Livingston described the discussion as primarily centered around requests that he cease cooperating with federal immigration authorities through jail holds placed on suspected illegal immigrants.
"I am following federal law," Livingston said. "The advocates would be better served to take up these issues with Congress."
The two sides do agree about the need for community-based transitional services for released inmates, Livingston said.
Inmates have access to a variety of programs while in custody, but that time period may be too short to complete the work.
"If we had a bridge between those services, a type of continuum of care, it would be helpful, but the question is always, how do we pay for it?" Livingston said.
The Contra Costa Community Corrections Partnership will review the entire $19 million budget Friday before taking a final vote Aug. 2. Aside from the new jail structure, the balance of the money is earmarked for increased staff throughout the county's law enforcement divisions and health services for inmates.
The board of supervisors will take up the realignment budget as early as Aug. 14. Supervisors may vote it up or down but cannot alter it. Rejection requires a supermajority or at least four out of five votes.
-- Matt O'Brien contributed to this story.