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SF Sheriff's New Jail Plans Faces Criticism From Activist Group

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A long-running plan to rebuild the jails above San Francisco's Hall of Justice received criticism from activists who showed up at a meeting on Monday to review Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's proposal and said that no jail should be built.

The Community Corrections Partnership, set up by the state to oversee prison re-alignment, was at City Hall to listen to Mirkarimi's plan to replace the jail at the Hall of Justice while also cutting the number of beds by a third.

For years the city has been planning to tear down the Hall of Justice and build a new one—including the jail that occupies the top two floors. Mirkarimi said the new jail will be better and smaller.

SF Sheriff's New Jail Plans Faces Criticism From Activist Group

"I'm happy to say that I will be the first sheriff in the state of California that is recommending that we make a reduction in jail beds and making a more effective space," Mirkarimi said. "There are a little over 900 beds on the 6th and 7th floor right now and we're proposing just about the 30 percent drop in the new jail."

But activists for Californians United for a Responsible Budget said that smaller isn't better and oppose prison spending.

"We don't believe there is any necessity to build a new replacement jail and actually are just calling for the closure entirely of the Hall of Justice jail," Emily Blunt, of CURB, said. "We need to be locking up fewer people and putting resources into supporting people in the community, re-entry, treatment and affordable housing."

Mirkarimi is seeking support of the CCP to secure funding for the new jail but it wants more information before making a decision.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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