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San Francisco reopens jail annex as inmate population skyrockets

San Francisco is reopening a shuttered annex of its San Bruno jail.

San Francisco is reopening a shuttered jail annex to cope with a recent surge of new inmates, authorities announced Friday.

The daily population in the city’s jails has climbed to more than 1,100 inmates, up from an average of 835 last October, according to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the lockups.

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In an effort to address overcrowding in the jails, officials are reopening the annex at County Jail #3 in San Bruno, which, along with the Downtown Bryant Street jail, had been closed since 2020.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the annex has six open dorms, two of which are currently ready for use.

Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said the increase in inmate population comes amid efforts to arrest those with outstanding warrants.

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“Part of the uptick in the current jail population can be attributed to people with multiple court cases being held to answer on arrests and charges on the same behavior,” Miyamoto said. “While we prioritize getting people to help and services, those who continue to repeat criminal behavior will end up in custody.”

News of the annex’s reopening comes less than two weeks after an inmate brawl at County Jail #3 prompted the sheriff deputies union to point to staffing levels at the jail as a cause for the inability to control the inmates after a new directive was passed permitting an increase in walk times for jails’ general populations.

“The Sheriffs Office can not maintain and implement all-day out-of-cell walk time at its current staffing levels,” Deputy Sheriffs’ Association President Ken Lomba said in a statement. “The city needs to focus on increasing incentives to attract new deputy sheriff hires.”

In August, San Francisco’s jail population reached 1,000 people for the first time in years as law enforcement officials ramped up arrests of people using and selling drugs in public.

The Pretrial Diversion Project—a nonprofit that provides alternatives to jail for criminal offenders in San Francisco—has been contacted for comment.