San Mateo Women’s Jail Facility Flooded from Recent Rains

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said 'the current antiquated facility is beyond repair.'

Members of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said Monday, the Women's Correctional Facility in Redwood City was so flooded from the rain of the past weekend that certain parts of the jail actually had to be shut down.

In a statement Monday, the Sheriff's Office said, this is further evidence that the current facilities are completely inadequate, and that the new jail currently under construction in Redwood City is needed now more than ever.

"On the heels of what some call the 'contentious topic' of opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art Correctional Facility in Redwood City, Mother Nature weighs in.

The abnormally high seasonal tides, or 'King Tides,' as they are referred to, wreaked havoc on the Women’s Correctional Facility this past weekend. The land on which San Mateo County Sheriff’s Women’s Correctional Facility, or WCC, is currently situated on is at sea-level, and therefore has a propensity for flooding.

Historically, this presents a problem each year to varying degrees. Some years it is simply an annoyance, as Sheriff’s employees and those visiting inmates have to walk through inches of water to enter the facility. Some years, such as this one, it presents more of a problem and impedes the flow of day-to-day operations.

Additionally, standing water brings with it issues of mold and pests that are not sanitary and can present hazardous breathing issues for correctional staff and inmates alike.

The "King Tides" of this past weekend essentially left the Women’s Transitional Facility an 'island' detention structure as the water level at times prevented access to the jail on Maple Street. On Thursday before the additional rain from the weekend, the street flooded to the extent the truck bringing the inmates their daily food became stuck in the rising tides for an hour and a half.

All jail programs had to be canceled as staff and volunteers couldn’t get in or out of the facility. All inmate visits from friends and family were likewise canceled.

The current antiquated facility is beyond repair. A brand-new, state-of-the-art facility is not a wish, it’s a need. The safety and security of those who serve time as well as those who work the facility are in desperate need of something better.

In the words of San Mateo County Sheriff Munks, 'We owe it to the members of this community to have a safe and humane environment in which to maintain the San Mateo County inmate population. That is what I intend to do in our new state-of-the-art correctional facility.”

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Molly P December 20, 2012 at 10:19 PM
the new jail has nothing to do with providing a safe, hazard-free place to live. the new jail is sited to be built on toxic land that already has a convenant in place banning construction of any building for people to live in. we see this across the nation & the state all the time: state & local departments of corrections or "public safety" highlight the terrible conditions of jails & prisons as reasons to build more cages to imprison people in, rather than doing what our communities actually need--spending adequate resources on services and programs that get at the root causes of harm & inequality in our communities, which would improve the conditions people live in, in turn preventing people from going to jail in the first place (i'm talking about things like affordable health care, drug & alcohol treatment, mental health services that don't rely on denying people their own self-determination & connection to community, meaningful education, meaningful, not-exploited work/jobs, fun & engaging, free recreational activities & spaces for youth & families, etc). there are plenty of alternatives to locking people up. building "new" jails that supposedly would have nice living conditions is not one of them. a cage is a cage is a cage, regardless if you dress it up nicely or call it something else.


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