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2 San Francisco County jails locked down after inmates allegedly attack deputies

Four inmates dressed in orange scrubs look away from the camera in a communal area in a jail setting.
Since March 29, seven staff members have been injured in attacks by inmates, with some resulting in serious injuries, the Sheriff's Office said. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

Two San Francisco County jails have been placed on lockdown this weekend in response to what authorities described as a surge in physical assaults on deputies and jail staff by incarcerated individuals.

Since March 29, seven staff members have been injured in these attacks, with some resulting in serious injuries, the San Francisco County Sheriff's Office said on Saturday. The lockdown, which affects County Jail No. 2 on Seventh Street in San Francisco and County Jail No. 3 in San Bruno, includes the cancellation of visits, programs and services.

"The lockdown went into effect for the protection of all who work or reside in, or visit our jails," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement provided to The Standard. "We are actively investigating these incidents to ascertain their root causes and any potential correlations between the string of attacks."

Tara Moriarty, a spokesperson for the department, said she could not comment on the deputies' injuries because of medical confidentiality laws. But according to Ken Lomba, president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association, two deputies had their shoulders dislocated, three deputies were punched in the head and another was so badly bitten by an inmate that their skin broke.

Three people walk past a building with a large badge emblem stating "San Francisco Police".
The lockdown affects County Jail No. 2 on Seventh Street in San Francisco, pictured above, and County Jail No. 3 in San Bruno. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

On Saturday, the association sent a letter to Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, demanding that he request the California National Guard be deployed to the jails to supplement the department's inadequate staffing.

"We need the sheriff to solve the staffing shortage immediately," Lomba told The Standard. "The city and the Sheriff's Office has not rapidly hired deputy sheriffs nor have they done anything to attract more law enforcement officers to the sheriff's department."

Lomba said issues with understaffing and mandatory overtime have increased deputies' workloads.

"With the increased workload and the increased stress, deputies are suffering from high depression rates, medical problems and fatigue," he said, adding that the shortages have bled over into probation and warrant violations.

The department emphasized that the safety of deputies and other jail personnel is of paramount concern, saying that "attacks on deputies directly affect the safety of everyone in jail including our staff, community members who work in the jail, and the incarcerated."

Normal operations at the jails are expected to resume next week, but the department cautioned that identifying and addressing the factors contributing to the assaults is critical to preventing future incidents.

One attack on March 24 left two deputies injured after two inmates punched them during a cell search, the Sheriff's Office previously told The Standard.

Saturday's announcement comes amid growing safety concerns tied to a deputy staffing shortage and a booming inmate population. As of Friday, there were a total of 395 inmates, including 92 women, at the Seventh Street jail—three over capacity, according to the Sheriff's Office. The San Bruno jail, the largest of the county's facilities, had a population of 701 inmates, or about 91% of capacity.

In October 2023, a weekend jail brawl that left a deputy injured and a number of inmates hospitalized prompted the reopening of a jail annex in San Bruno.

Jonah Owen Lamb contributed to this report.