San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs have the honor of having served under the only progressive sheriff in California, Michael Hennessy. Our goal was to promote restorative justice, assist offenders into adopting law abiding lives, reduce recidivism, and improve community life.
The current Sheriff’s Department is headed for disaster. Currently, staffing of deputy sheriff’s is at 70% of what is required, and the current Sheriff has slashed programs, increased lockups (prisoners face 23 hours a day in confinement); blown holes in his budget through mandatory overtime, while increasing administration staff, non-essential programs and taken resources away from our core mission, which is running the jails. Sheriff Miyamoto claims there are 176 vacant positions and as a result inmates receive no family visits, inmates are locked in cells for longer, and all regular programs have been cut leaving only a few video/correspondence programs. Even religious services have been cut. No more Catholic services, no more Protestant services, no more Jehovah services, no Muslim services. And addiction services such as AA have been cut.
As a result, the jail’s current policies of increased lock downs and reduced programs have increased the mental health issues of inmates, imperil deputy sheriffs’ safety due to inmates taking out their increased anxieties and tensions on deputies, and cause more staffing issues by encouraging retirements and deputies to leave their jobs.
In the meantime, the Sheriff faces two class action lawsuits because the jails, ignoring Title 24, provides no outdoor access to inmates, so inmates are housed under fluorescent lights, 24/7, 365, and the Sheriff faces accusations of violating inmates’ constitutional right to sleep by forcing breakfast to wake up between 4 am and 4:30 am for breakfast. These lawsuits have the possibility of large judgements against the Sheriff’s Department.
The new DA Brooke Jenkins’ promise to increase prosecution i.e., of fentanyl pushers, as stated in her press interviews, means an increase in incarceration and we don’t have the deputy staff to properly run the jail.
To meet the needs of San Francisco, the Mayor and the Sheriff must adequately staff deputy sheriff’s, at minimum increase the staffing to the 2019 level, with additional hiring of 82 more deputy sheriffs. Recruiting and retention should be a priority and it hasn’t been. A revolving door at the jail serves the needs of no one. Properly staff our jails. Return all programs, particularly addiction treatment and anger management programs.
Exhibit A – staffing report for June 2022 (606 deputies, 23 senior deputies = 629, and 71 sergeants) versus July 2019 (712 sheriff’s deputies and 49 senior deputies = 759, and 57 sergeants). This shows more expensive officers increase at the expense of the line deputies who do the work.
Exhibit B – Consultant staffing analysis: Deputy vacancies are even higher than what Sheriff Miyamoto claims