Sheriff to explain plans to add 480 beds at Richmond jail

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Sheriff set to explain plans to add 480 beds at Richmond jail, increasing population to more than 1,000

A plan to add 480 beds at the West County Detention Facility (WCDF) in Richmond will be explained by Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston at the Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday, according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, who said the city had not been invited to weigh in on the proposal.

The sheriff’s office is planning to apply for an $80 million state grant and to spend $10 million of county funds in order to build a 150,000 square-foot building at WCDF at 5555 Giant Highway in Richmond. The new building, which will house high-security inmates requiring mental health services, will take in more than 450 inmates currently housed at the Martinez Detention Facility, increasing the WCDF’s population to more than 1,000 inmates.

If that happens, more than three-quarters of the total inmate population in the county will be housed at the Richmond facility, according to Richmond mayor’s office.

The plan came as a shock to Mayor Butt, who said in a statement Sunday that he invited Livingston to speak at City Council on Tuesday since no public meetings for the proposed prison expansion had been planned.

The mayor is requesting that Livingston create a working group including city representatives to develop programs at the new facility and to commit additional funding to post-release services to assist formerly incarcerated men and woman.

“We should be given every opportunity to be a real and engaged partner in the development of the proposal but so far, we’ve been left out of the planning,” Butt said. “If more than three quarters of the total inmate population in the County will be house at the West County jail, we need to make sure we have the appropriate resources to help our impacted West County communities.”

Despite the inmate population transfer, the Martinez Detention Facility would continue serving as the primary booking facility in the county.

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