On Monday, the California Senate passed SB 630, a bill that aims to block local jails from accessing state funds for jail expansions and improvements if those jails are leasing out their beds—whether to the federal government for immigrant detention, or to other public or private lessees.
“California doesn’t need to pay for federal ICE beds,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who authored the bill.
And any local jails receiving state funding for renovations or expansion would have to guarantee that the space would not be contracted out for at least 10 years. Jails would only be able to lease their space to other counties or to the state during those 10 years.
“Using our limited jail capacity to cooperate with ICE erodes community trust in law enforcement and local government,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. “Senate Bill 630 helps counties maintain community trust.”
Contra Costa’s Sheriff (who is also Vice President of the CA Sheriff’s Association) David Livingston, disagrees. Local “sheriffs have applied for state funding to build jail facilities that have mental health treatment, rehabilitation services,” Livingston said on KABC’s McIntyre in the Morning.
Livingston says that he and his fellow sheriffs are not “focusing on immigration, but when you start taking money away from taxpayers because we happen to assist ICE by renting excess bed space, there’s a problem with that.”
The bill must now make its way through the Assembly.