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The History of Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, CA

Posted on: 07/22/2016

Santa Rita Jail is located in Dublin, CA. A county jail houses inmates who are to be sentenced or overall are there for less than a year. Santa Rita Jail, a “mega-jail,” currently houses 4,000 inmates. The jail today ranks as the third-largest facility in California.

A jail with its roots in the past has transformed with time to house the increasing number of prisoners. In the past, Santa Rita Jail was constructed as an alternative housing facility, to the original prison farm situated in an area that was next to the Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro, covering 275 acres.

The ‘new jail’ (which is now an old one) that was constructed in 1947 was constructed in an area bigger than that covered by the prison farm. Judging by the records, this jail covered a big area of 1,000 acres of a World War II military training base. This training base is known as Camp Schumacher. To add up, Santa Rita Jail that was built after the one constructed in 1947 is near the old jail. The jail is located adjacent to the Camp Parks Reserve Training Center and is operated under the control of Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Back in the years when the jail was established in Camp Schumacher, the spot comprised of a Navy Brig that was later transformed into a supreme security office known as the Greystone. Greystone was a set of eight military citadels or blockhouses that went through the process of renovation and remodeling to have a facility established that met a standard level. Subsequently, the Greystone was further renovated and converted into a compound. A compound was a security facility that was medium and ordinary.

On the one hand, such repeated conversion and changes were taking place to house prisoners, but, on the other hand, there was a set establishment for women known as the Women’s Quarter. The quarter, as described in the official document, was shaped like a horseshoe.

Moving on, the Santa Rita Jail, covering an area of 1000 acres, also became a smaller area compared to the number of prisoners housed. And, with the passing of time, the jail became overcrowded. Due to the jail being full, it became difficult to take control of and handle the prisoners. Not only did it become difficult to tackle the pouring number of prisoners but also the maintenance and operation of the jail became a reason for a shifting of place. The maintenance and operation precisely demanded a high amount of flow of cash. While this seemed an expensive decision, the Santa Rita Jail was decided to be re-built. Therefore, in the year 1983, the design and expansion of the new Santa Rita began. The design of the current Santa Rita Jail is in a decentralized campus form. The area coverage is 113 acres.  The jail was completed in the year 1989 and at the request of Sheriff Charles Plummer, prisoners were shifted to the new jail. The Santa Rita Jail is licensed by the American Correctional Association and is considered an innovative technological project in the world with a speedy robotic system for serving the prisoners.

Besides the construction and the system of the Santa Rita Jail, it functions towards aiming to work in an environment that is safe and caring to increase the productivity of all prisoners. Encouraging criminals’ equity agenda and cultivating open well-being are also included in the goals. Other than this, the four basic principles that the jail functions for are:

  • Accepting and handling arrestees,
  • Pre-trial detainment,
  • Imprisonment of nearby sentenced detainees
  • Holding prisoners who advance or travel to state detainment facilities or other stomping grounds or territories.

Different color codes categorize the convicts of the Santa Rita Jail. The colors are selected based on the existing accusations, criminal history, and the terror they create for their fellow inmates. Blue suggests low threat and medium security. Yellow jumpsuits advocate a history of violence and heavy charges. Red recommends segregation and isolation in custody. To maintain peace, these categories were formed. During transfers of the prisoners to other jails, they had the tendency to fight back. They attacked the deputies, which was a warning that jail is a place where life is always threatened. There have been reported cases where the arrested convicts were innocent. One such case was of Stubbs, a diabetic patient of 65 years of age. He was arrested for a crime he did not commit. He was found innocent after he died. Meetings have also been called to determine the reasons and circumstances behind mysterious deaths.

Briefly, the highlight characteristic of the Santa Rita Jail is it ensures security for prisoners by not only guarding the prisoners housed in jail, but also to guard the jail and other prisoners against those prisoners who are furious or troublemakers. Other than the question of security, the Santa Rita Jail has been a demonstrative answer of maintenance for the prisoners by providing them with a comfortable place to live in and also providing them with food. The Santa Rita Jail also takes care of the health of the prisoner by providing them with medical facilities.

As mentioned earlier, the Santa Rita Jail is known to be the third largest facility in California, and also, it is the fifth largest in the US. The reasons are that not only has the facility been able to house so many individuals but also that they have been able to do it in a productive and secure manner. If you flip the pages back to the history section, you will be informed by the records that Santa Rita Jail Facility served the criminals in a humane and kind compartment to keep the environment healthy.

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