“Aren’t these the same people who asked us to do this job and now they want to come and tell us how to do it?”
By Lisa Vorderbrueggen Contra Costa Times
MARTINEZ — Costa Costa’s top law enforcement leaders postponed a vote Thursday on a contentious Richmond jail expansion plan after three East Bay legislators issued a last-minute plea for a delay.
State Sens. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, along with Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, asked the Contra Costa Community Corrections Partnership to hold off in light of vocal community opposition to the 150-bed addition to the West County Jail.
In their joint letter, they asked the panel to work with them to help “break the cycle of crimes and keep our communities safe.”
But the irony of the lawmakers’ request was too much for District Attorney Mark Peterson, who tersely asked, “Aren’t these the same people who asked us to do this job and now they want to come and tell us how to do it?…”
It is simple math, said Sheriff David Livingston: The state is sending him more prisoners than it initially estimated and he needs the bed space.
But his $2.9 million expansion proposed for the county’s Point Richmond jail has become a local flash point in the debates over detention of illegal immigrants and punishment vs. rehabilitation.
…inmate and immigrants’ rights activists…want the money spent instead on transitional prisoner rehabilitation, housing and job services.
They also argue the county could free up beds if it quit housing suspected illegal immigrants at the behest of immigration authorities. Federal officials said Wednesday they keep an average of 138 people with pending deportations at the West County Jail…(Full text at Contra Costa Times)