Editorial: Horsley & Munks Attempt to Shove a New County Jail Down Our Collective Throats

Former San Mateo County Sheriff Don Horsley And Current Sheriff Greg Munks Are Attempting to Shove a New County Jail Down Our Collective Throats! Are We The People Going to Say No To Their Good Cop Bad Cop Routine? Or Instead, Will We Complacently Allow This Law Enforcement Duo To Send Us Down The Prison Industrial Complex River To Economic Hell? Just Say No To Horsley And Munks. NO NEW JAIL!!!!!!!!!!

Sheriff Greg Munks
Former Sheriff Don Horsley

Here are some of my observations re San Mateo County and the progress, or lack thereof–re their realignment plan (AB 109), inmates returning from the state prison to the county jail, and or for community supervision.

Many of my views/ observations—were made/gleaned from attending several county realignment meetings (supervisor and former county sheriff Don Horsley- nowhere to be found).

I might add, Horsley is–despite his attempted protestations to the contrary, cheer leader # 1 for the new jail along with the current sheriff Greg Munks. 

Why I am not surprised that the former sheriff is supporting the current sheriff for a new jail, and both selling us down the economic river to the equivalent of prison industrial complex hell.

Talk about the classic good cop Horsley and the bad cop Munks: bottom line they are both about shoving this mammoth failed criminal justice policy down our collective throats, facts be damned–all with the complicity of the other top political players in San Mateo County.

The only vote on the five member BOS (Board of Supervisors), against a new jail plan was supervisor David Pine–and he sounded almost apologetic in offering at least some minimum resistance to the new jail. Don’t count on David Pine to truly come out swinging against the madness of this failed criminal justice policy (my observation, he just doesn’t have it in him to be a true advocate against this failed policy, of course, I hope he proves me wrong—but I’m not holding my breath).

Despite Horsley’s failed attempt at cover (playing it both way as it were), see his Guest Opinion in Saturday’s Daily Post: How to make the new jail the best solution, truth is he is likely the most dangerous member of the current BOS.

Given his back ground as the former sheriff, and his ability to sound at least reasonably articulate on the issues—he is a danger and a threat to true public safe since he is good at making bad criminal justice policy sound palatable.. He talks a good progressive game, but bottom line he has still not taken off his sheriff’s uniform—and don’t expect him to do so anytime soon.

The county executives responsible for making certain there are adequate resources for returning inmates are instead allocating most of the money for their own purposes (while simultaneously slapping their selves on the back–while claiming falsely, and in their own self-interest I might add,  that San Mateo has the best reentry programs in the state. Simply put what a joke!!!

This is nothing but law enforcement bravado and political posturing at its worst. If you think this is just my opinion see the Daily POST piece of Monday Oct. 3, 2011 titled:  Here come the state inmates–Group says San Mateo County isn’t ready for more prisoners.

Here is some relevant language re San Mateo County from the article,” San Mateo County, which is planning to build a new jail, flunked because it isn’t spending enough money on programs designed to help prisoners re-enter society in the opinion of Californians United for a Responsible Budget.

CURB says it wants to curb prison spending by reducing the number of prisoners and prisons. I handed a copy of this Daily Post Piece to each member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors at their October 4, 2011 meeting.

Not only did Horsley not mention the article or CURB’s criticisms at the board meeting –but you will see no reference to CURB’s comments in Horsley’s October 8, 2011, Daily Post guest opinion.

This guy Horsley will apparently continue to bury his head in the sand re the reality of the failed prison/jail policy he is preaching/supporting while pretending to be a progressive prison/jail reformer.

My advice: Don’t buy what this guy is peddling to the public to the great detriment of all of the social programs that will suffer if the Horsley/Munks jail/prison is built (180 million to build–not considering the inevitable cost overruns—and the annual cost of running this new county prison 40-50 million per year).

San Mateo County is pushing more of the same old same old–hoping for different results–by hiring more probation officers, cops, etc., while at the same time mostly leaving the returning inmates with no or inadequate reentry programs, no job training or jobs, etc. It’s all a big time set-up to promote their new county jail.

Since they (the realignment executive committee–with sign off from the board of supervisors) are not providing adequate programs or jobs for returning inmates–they can predict–almost with a certainty, that there will be a high rate of recidivism–that they can then point to and report back to the public to spark fear of a rising crime rate, and thus falsely/disingenuously claim requires/supports a  county new jail/prison.

Wow! I call such thinking and design a conspiracy against the true interest of the people. And I have told San Mateo County’s elected District Attorney, Steve Wagstaffe– who I will copy in on this e-mail–that he is the only San Mateo County public official—who possess  the political gravitas–to push for a change of direction re this ass backwards criminal justice policy.

The question is now: will Steve do so—push for a change of direction– or instead, decide to follow Horsley’s lead and bury his head in the sand as well. I hope not.

As I have said to Steve Wagstaffe: if you are truly a man in support of public safety first–and not just giving lip service to the concept–then it is your job as San Mateo’s District Attorney–to see to it that realignment funds are given to evidence based programs.

Proven and designed to reduce recidivism now–not after a crime wave that was allowed to happen because we let the money go to hire more police, and more probation officers—knowing that this has been a tried and true formula for a 70 percent plus recidivism rate, all because law enforcement cheer leaders #’s 1 & 2–Greg Munks and Don Horsley–want to shove  a new county jail/prison down our throats, while Rome burns around us.

I say we can’t let it happen. Unless Munks and Horsley start telling the truth to the people it’s  time we consider recalling both of these pretend public servants.

4 Replies to “Editorial: Horsley & Munks Attempt to Shove a New County Jail Down Our Collective Throats”

  1. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Placing hardened criminal in with county level offenders is like bringing private tutoring on advanced criminal activity into county jails. And using the county jails as a holding pen for prison offenders is not really solving the problem of overcrowding.

    Why the issue of 98% plea rate from certain counties is not addressed is in itself criminal. In some instances, probably waaay too many, people are being sent to jail and prison for ridiculous things – things that aren’t really crimes. Or the spin attached by the DA office and police complicity was not addressed by the defense attorney. All too often, apparently, the defense works to favor the court, not with best interests of the client. This is not only Public Defenders, but also privately hired criminal defense.

    Why? Why do the courts despise the people? Why does county administration despise the people?

    I think it’s because there is abuse by those in power against the people of the county. That’s what I think. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see an abusive criminal justice system. We would see fairness if those sitting behind the bench were actually respectful.

  2. Well, this certain whets my appetite for some cold hard facts. If the jail is really such a bad idea, please tell us why in facts and figures, Mr. James. You passion is clear. The basis is not so clear.

    I get the part about a 70% recidivism rate–totally unacceptable.

    I call on supporters of Horsely-Munks to improve on that.

    But what would Mr. James substitute for the new jail? Jobs, training, counseling, programs? What training? Who would do it? And what programs? Who would run them?

    I admit we already incarcerate far too many, far too quickly, for far too long in this country already, but what is the proposed alternative to the already “failed” system?

    We don’t want to go jumping off into something worse, do we?

    Yes, the incarceration reiteration is appalling. That’s why the Supremes say California must reform–let the people go. And that is the great opportunity we all have on the local level.

    People all over this country from the Tea Party to the Occupiers want government to be responsive, not wasteful, to solve problems not institutionalize them. This is a great opportunity for us to learn what George Bush 41 told us many years ago: “It’s cheaper to educate a person at Yale for a year than to incarcerate him for a year.”

    Now, there’s a clue. Maybe spending LESS with a better chance of accomplishing MORE is a way to go?

    Could it be that stodgy old school learning is really the cheapest, quickest, least problem-causing way to remediate our current problems?

    Yes, it’s true, that edumacation thing we’ve neglected so long IS the key to ending recidivism, reforming people, enabling them to do things differently than they used to when they got in trouble.

    Thass my story and I’m sticking to it. Go ye and do likewise.

  3. Clearly we have created incentives for the growth of the incarceration system. Can some enlightened leader create the incentives for education and prevention so that we can reduce recidivism?

    As the brightest economists have told us for many decades, we are exactly the result of the incentives that are in place. Reform and restructure with new incentives that will yield a lower prison population. The prison guard unions and prison builders may not like that, but its time to shine the light of truth on the perverse incentives that have set the prison industry on an unsustainable growth curve.

    While it may take an investment to right the ship, the long-term economic payback to the taxpayers will be large, and the reduction of needless human suffering will be minimized.

  4. A “new” jail is needed.

    Why is there a “new jail” story, pro and con, in every year, in every decade, in every county? The reason is that there are never really any “new” jails. Just the same old money making industry that “treats” what are mostly drug use, education and training, and joblessness problems as crimes. The victimless “criminals” get thrown into a system in which the life problems that drove them to drug use become worsened by going to the same old jail system while their barely held together lives fall apart entirely during incarceration. If there are more and more criminals needing more and more jails, then what is needed is a truly “new” jail in Santa Clara County… in the form of a medical treatment and jobs program option facility, where the victimless criminals can opt out of the “old” jail program and into a new life.

Comments are closed.