SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen has sent a letter to the city manager and city attorney requesting an investigation into claims of inmate dumping from the downtown jail by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
Hansen claims the 100-150 inmates released daily at the downtown jail has a disproportionate impact on crime in the central city.
“When this is the only place that people are being released, and they’re being collected countywide, I’d say its dumping,” Hansen said.
Sheriff’s spokesperson Sergeant Tony Turnbull says the letter mischaracterizes the legal release of inmates.
“First of all when you say dumping, I think that was a bad use of words,” Turnbull said. “That’s what you usually do with garbage, trash or unwanted material, not human beings.”
Hansen wrote the letter after two recent deadly attacks downtown, where new investments have recently led to a downtown development renaissance.
“I think if you look at the jail, in particular, I think for a long time nobody cared, downtown wasn’t a place that most people cared about,” Hansen said.
The business association Downtown Partnership backs Hansen, recently meeting with the district attorney to request crime stats showing how many released inmates are being rearrested downtown.
Inmates housed and released at the downtown jail are arrested by police departments all across the county.
“I think that Downtown Sacramento shouldn’t have to bear the burden for the entire region,” Hansen said.
Turnbull points out changing inmate release locations, could be expensive.
“What about the arrestees that actually live in Stockton or the Bay Area, or southern California, or another state? do we need to get them transportation back to their own city of state?” Turnbull said.
Hansen is requesting the city attorney present findings from an investigation on downtown inmate releases to the full council in 30 days.