On Tuesday, Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston provided an update on the Sheriffs Department response to COVID-19 along with public safety issues which included an update on bookings.
Livingston explained to the Board of Supervisors that sheriffs deputies are still responding to calls and making arrests when necessary when people try and victimize others, the bookings may not happen due to $0 bail order from the state. They have also had to release inmates from the jails due to COVID-19.
He said on Tuesday while the jails have a capacity of about 2,000 inmates, they are at about 722 inmate’s system wide – 36% of capacity. Most sheriffs across the state are seeing similar numbers according to Livingston. They also have another 466 inmates already out of custody on the custody alternative system which includes ankle monitoring and home monitoring. In the past 30-days, they have gone from 1,100 inmates in their custody to 722—a drop of 35%.
They have also limited the offenses what will allow them to book people into jail—restricted to serious or violent felonies. In terms of bookings:
- Feb 16 – March 15: they had 1,172 bookings (60 per day)
- March 16 – April 13: just 10 per day—an 84% drop.
Livingston added that the state prison system has stopped accepting transfers which prevents those convicted of a serious crime in Contra Costa County from being transferred. Currently, all counties are being forced to retain their inmates that would have ordinarily been transferred to state prison—24 are currently awaiting being transferred to state prison, 7 of which are for murder convictions.
“As of now, 89% of our inmates are in separate cells which is helping to reduce any spread of COVID-19,” said Livingston. “I expect that number to increase as we go forward.”
Livingston also highlighted the Judicial Bail Order statewide, which state sheriffs including him objected to, which set a statewide order of $0—including vehicular manslaughter, unlawful sex with a minor, weapons charge and arson. This released a number of offenders who would have been retained on bail.
“That is something the public needs to understand when they read in the paper that someone… in San Ramon is involved in driving a stolen vehicle, in a pursuit with police officers, endangering the public driving on the wrong side of the road, crashes the car, runs from the officers in San Ramon and is finally captured and none of those offenses will allow him to be booked. He has to be released on $0 bail,” explained Livingston. “I think the state has gone too far.”
In terms of early release, he has authority to release inmates with less than 60-days which he said he takes cautiously and looks at a full criminal history of each person presented to him and so far he has released 39-inmates early from their full sentence.
“At this point, we are only holding serious and violent felons in our jails,” stated Livingston who said there were a number of inmates he will not release under any circumstance.
This includes: 164 inmates facing murder charges, 98 facing child molestation, 22 charged with rape, 18 charged with kidnapping, 108 charged with robbery, 101 charged with burglary, 186 charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
“We will only release those where it is responsible to do so and only those where the risk to the public is low,” said Livingston.
Livingston said that they are getting about a dozen calls a day to enforce the County Health Order regarding social distancing and essential business vs. non-essential business.
He also stated that there has been an uptick in commercial burglaries while they are seeing a 20% decrease in residential burglaries.
He then explained steps they have taken to protect their staff at the jail from COVID-19:
- Screen all employees and inmates before they enter the facility
- Quarantine all new arrestees for a period of 14-days (38 total right now)
- Follow health officers’ directives and CDC.
- Issue masks to all staff and all inmates
- Provide soap and water
- All staff wears masks and gloves when dealing with inmates.
- High level cleaning of touch areas.
- Tested 22-staff members for COVID-19 – a few weeks ago 1 deputy tested positive.
- Tested 22-inmates – none have been positive
- Suspended visits, however, have increased access to inmates using the phones. Have waved all postage for outgoing mail.
This was happening before COVID-19 nice try though.
All the perps they should have picked up and arrested are terrorizing individuals and families all over the county. Nice work!
This is happening because the cops do not show up when called! Even if the crime is progress! They say it’s not an emergency. Well, maybe THEIR salaries should be cut because they don’t have to work as much. Crimes are committed like crazy: cars broken into, idiots threatening people, fires being set, people driving recklessly on residential streets, vandalism. The cops just sit there! Terrific!
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