Expansion of S.B. County Jails Asked

Times Staff Writer

For the second time in four months, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has urged the Board of Supervisors to expand the county’s jail facilities, saying the crowding problem would only continue as the county’s population continued to grow.

Addressing the board Tuesday, Undersheriff Robert Peppler said the facilities already exceeded the capacity of 4,882 inmates by more than 300. He showed the board an estimate that the county’s jail population would grow to 7,500 by 2012.

Sheriff Gary Penrod pleaded his department’s case before the supervisors in July, and the board has not taken action.


At least one supervisor suggested relieving the crunch by canceling contracts with the federal government to house federal prisoners at county facilities. But Peppler said the federal contracts paid the county enough money annually to help subsidize jail operations for the nonfederal inmates.

Instead, Peppler suggested that the board consider leasing or buying two jail facilities in Adelanto that would increase the county’s capacity by 1,500 prisoners. As a long-term solution, he suggested that the board consider building a 3,000-bed facility in the High Desert.

“We can’t just sit back and do nothing,” Peppler said, noting that about 1,700 prisoners are released early each month to relieve crowding.

The board asked county staff to return next week with more information on the options.