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Friday, October 21, 2011

Police Scandals Free Up Jail Cells For Released Inmates

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 3:20 PM

click to enlarge San Francisco County Jail: Vacancies
  • San Francisco County Jail: Vacancies

The Examiner had an intriguing piece today on how the scandals shaking the police department in the last year have had an ironic consequence: more empty beds in county jails to receive the hundreds of state prison inmates that will be sent our way from state prison in coming months.

First up was Debbie Madden, the crime lab employee who was accused in March 2010 of snorting the cocaine she was supposed to be testing. Madden became the patron saint of hundreds of grateful drug suspects, as the district attorney dismissed hundreds of drug cases that Madden had a hand in (pun intended). As the entire Madden madness played out from March to May 2010, the county jail population dropped by 350 inmates. 

Then in March of this year, Public Defender Jeff Adachi unleashed "Police, Lies, and Videotape" upon the city -- releasing surveillance tape after tape which Adachi alleged show cops performing warrantless searches of residential hotel rooms and later falsifying police reports. Once again, District Attorney George Gascon gave more than 100 defendants a get-out-of-jail-free card by dismissing cases that involved the policemen. The Examiner's analysis of the sheriff's data shows that the inmate population declined from 1,800 in February before the tape scandal broke to 1,500 this month.

The result? More jail cells for low-level offenders being transferred from overcrowded state prisons, to the tune of 140 inmates a month for the next two to three months.

In this case, we can say the city brought it upon itself.

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Lauren Smiley


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