County Jail Underwater From Recent Rain (PHOTOS)

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said 'the current antiquated facility is beyond repair.'

Members of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said Monday, the Women's Correctional Facility in Redwood City was so flooded from the rain of the past weekend that certain parts of the jail actually had to be shut down.

In a statement Monday, the Sheriff's Office said, this is further evidence that the current facilities are completely inadequate, and that the new jail currently under construction in Redwood City is needed now more than ever.

"On the heels of what some call the 'contentious topic' of opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art Correctional Facility in Redwood City, Mother Nature weighs in.

The abnormally high seasonal tides, or 'King Tides,' as they are referred to, wreaked havoc on the Women’s Correctional Facility this past weekend. The land on which San Mateo County Sheriff’s Women’s Correctional Facility, or WCC, is currently situated on is at sea-level, and therefore has a propensity for flooding.

Historically, this presents a problem each year to varying degrees. Some years it is simply an annoyance, as Sheriff’s employees and those visiting inmates have to walk through inches of water to enter the facility. Some years, such as this one, it presents more of a problem and impedes the flow of day-to-day operations.

Additionally, standing water brings with it issues of mold and pests that are not sanitary and can present hazardous breathing issues for correctional staff and inmates alike.

The "King Tides" of this past weekend essentially left the Women’s Transitional Facility an 'island' detention structure as the water level at times prevented access to the jail on Maple Street. On Thursday before the additional rain from the weekend, the street flooded to the extent the truck bringing the inmates their daily food became stuck in the rising tides for an hour and a half.

All jail programs had to be canceled as staff and volunteers couldn’t get in or out of the facility. All inmate visits from friends and family were likewise canceled.

The current antiquated facility is beyond repair. A brand-new, state-of-the-art facility is not a wish, it’s a need. The safety and security of those who serve time as well as those who work the facility are in desperate need of something better.

In the words of San Mateo County Sheriff Munks, 'We owe it to the members of this community to have a safe and humane environment in which to maintain the San Mateo County inmate population. That is what I intend to do in our new state-of-the-art correctional facility.”


The new, $160-million jail, approved by the County Board of Supervisors in October of 2011, broke ground in July, and is expected to be completed in 2015. It will be located at Maple and Blomquist streets, closer to the Redwood City Police Department headquarters.


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Gene Firpo December 19, 2012 at 02:04 AM
It will dry out.
Enquiring Mind December 19, 2012 at 02:17 AM
The new, $160-million jail was approved by the County Board of Supervisors in October of 2011, broke ground in July 2012, and is expected to be completed in 2015. And we have yet to be told not only where the $160M to build is coming from but also the annual operating/maintenance funds.
James Lee Han December 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM
It's really reprehensible for the Sheriff's office to try and spin the weather in their favor and claim that it justifies the need for a new jail: The new jail site is at Chemical Way near Maple and Blomquist. The old women's jail is on Maple as well. Because Maple curves around and makes a U shape, the new jail site is only one block away from the old one. So how does the Sheriff's claim make any sense? Flooding at the old women's jail justifies moving the jail just one block away? If they were really, truly concerned about the welfare of the incarcerated women and the risk of flooding, they wouldn't be moving them to a new jail just on the other side of the block. And that's not even accounting for the fact that criminal justice experts have stated that the current women's jail can be safely shut down WITHOUT opening a new jail. This is just more spin from the Sheriff to justify what is going to be a massive boondoggle of a project that keeps the county's budget in crisis at taxpayer expense.


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