by Frank Gayaldo
I promise folks, if you like a good laugh or cry, this will be worth reading in its entirety. On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors allocated $384,000 to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office to upgrade part of the fencing around the jail’s Honor Farm.
The following are some excerpts from the Lodi News Sentinel titled
San Joaquin County supervisors approve Honor Farm security upgrades
“We hope it will have a two-way effect,” Supervisor Ken Vogel said, referring to the need to reduce both the number of inmates escaping the facility and the amount of contraband entering the facility.
The upgrades are an attempt to better equip the facility to house the recent rash of more sophisticated inmates — who are serving longer sentences as a result of state prison realignment — than the Honor Farm was originally intended to house when it was built.
“Due to longer sentences and community safety, (Sheriff Steve Moore) requested and received funds from the CCP to complete security upgrades at the minimum-security facility,” Deputy Les Garcia, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said.
The most recent escape occurred April 4, when Jimmy Lee Rayburn, a Lodi man, was missing during an inmate check around 11 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office said.
“This in itself will not guarantee the elimination of escapes,” Garcia said. “However, it is expected to reduce the number of escapes as well as detour deliveries of contraband items.”
FACT: There is no “recent rash of more sophisticated inmates”.
The county jail has been operating under a Superior Court imposed population cap since 1989. Sheriff Moore first took office on January 8, 2007. The misnamed “public safety prison realignment”, or AB-109, took effect on October 1, 2011. Last I checked this is the year 2014. Sophisticated, average and totally stupid inmates have been throwing weapons, dope, cell phones and even themselves over the San Joaquin County “honor” farm fence during Moore’s entire tenure as Sheriff. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either totally misinformed, or smoking some of that famous SJ honor farm dope.
I do applaud Sheriff Moore’s public information officer for acknowledging that “this in itself will not guarantee the elimination of escapes.” Les Garcia just needed to add it will also not guarantee the elimination of dangerous contraband entering the facility either. As someone who has worked for city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, (including working at the San Joaquin County Jail and on San Quentin State Prison’s death row), I have had more than my share of experience working with both highly sophisticated and totally stupid criminals. Just like recent escapee Jimmy Lee Rayburn, inmates of all varying intelligence will be free to utilize the areas of the honor farm not covered by the new partial fence to get their dope. One does not have to have any law enforcement or criminal history to figure that one out.
The new partial fence will not be completed for another six months. Too bad Moore did not start this project back in 2007 when he first became sheriff. Maybe by now the public could have a complete strengthened honor farm perimeter fence that would actually prevent escapes and minimize contraband. Imagine how much fencing, surveillance cameras and vehicle sally ports could have been purchased with the $9 million dollars Moore instead decided to waste on fantasy jail design plans.
Again, the court cap has been in place since 1989. AB 109 has been in effect since October of 2011. Obviously “a sudden rash of more sophisticated inmates” was not what motivated Moore to take action just weeks away from the upcoming sheriff’s election. Usually when things are screwed up this bad Moore blames someone else, like the Department of Justice. Maybe this time he should blame Pat WIthrow for not running for San Joaquin County Sheriff years earlier.
So the question remains: Why didn’t Moore respond to this threat before the election? I have a theory. What happens when you are worst team in the NFL? You get to pick the first draft choice. What happens when you have the highest recidivism rate in California, one in four of your fugitives never return to justice and you have a grossly overcrowded jail that inmates routinely escape from? One would think you would be first in line for state grant money. I believe that was Moore’s strategy. What is for sure is that Moore has refused to acknowledge San Joaquin County has access to local low cost solutions such as modular jails that would not require him to chase after $80 million dollar state grants. Moore likes to pretend modular jails in California and elsewhere are like unicorns: they just don’t exist. Too bad for Moore’s campaign and jail strategy Google has a search function.