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Napa Jail Is Not Overcrowded, Sheriff Says

UPDATED WITH SIGNIFICANT CORRECTIONS: While prison realignment hasn't yet led to violence at the Napa jail, Napa County Sheriff John Robertson favors a minimum-security honor farm as an alternative for non-violent offenders. Do you agree?

Correction, June 22: Due to a combination of reporting and editing errors, Sheriff John Robertson was not quoted accurately when this article was originally published with a different headline and URL. Louisa deeply regrets the errors and apologizes to the Sheriff and to the Napa County Department of Corrections.

The prison realignment measure implemented Oct. 1, 2011 by the state of California could put pressure on the criminal justice system in Napa County, according to Sheriff John Robertson.

Intended to reduce overcrowding at state prisons, the new policy mandates some non-violent criminals who would normally be sentenced to prison now serve their time in jail in the county where they were convicted. 

“We have an unique situation here in Napa County as the does not run the jail,” said Robertson, 53, who was appointed sheriff by the board of supervisors in April to replace the retiring Doug Koford.

“However, just because we don’t operate the jail, realignment also affects our department as well," he continued.

While the jail is operated by the , inmate violence often requires the sheriff's department to get involved:

“We have to transport all injured inmates to and guard the inmates' hospital rooms,” Robertson explained.

Robertson said he favors modification of the jail to include an honor farm for non-violent convicted criminals and inmates awaiting trial.

“We could put these people to work. It would be a minimum security facility. While there, inmates could go to school, learn a trade and attend alcohol and drug recovery programs,” he said.

“These programs teach skills and help offenders prepare for a job when they are released.

“They could be responsible for a community garden. And the produce they raise could be used for the and ,” Robertson said.

“They could sell their food at the .”

What do you think? Should Napa County consider these alternatives to jail? Tell us in the comments below.

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Louisa Hufstader June 22, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Um ... You're welcome, Scott. Just understand that "it leads when it bleeds" because the media has been shown, in ways it would be stupid to ignore, that this is what the majority readers want. The readership numbers for Napa Patch, in particular the "open rate" on our daily newsletter, show that without any doubt! And the occasions are few on which none of our most-read stories (usually listed to the right of article pages) involves death, destruction or mayhem. Why don't more people click on good news? It's a mystery.
Louisa Hufstader June 22, 2012 at 09:55 PM
MAJOR CORRECTION! Due to a combination of reporting and editing errors, Sheriff John Robertson was not quoted accurately when this article was originally published. Louisa deeply regrets the errors and apologizes to the Sheriff and to the Napa County Department of Corrections.
Scott Yeager June 22, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I was thinking strictly of television when I wrote that and not the antiquated print media or the new media of the internet. I associate "if it bleeds, it leads" with television. I didn't clarify that when I wrote the comment. I remember when a friend of mine moved to L.A. to go to UCLA in the 80s and the first time I went to visit him we somehow ended up watching the 5pm news one day. He hadn't been down there very long and we both felt pulverized after the first 15 minutes were nothing but murder, death and destruction. It freaked both of us out. I have never forgotten that experience. I think the 80s is when it got really bad with television news and it has been downhill ever since.
Scott Yeager June 22, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Since I blog on here am I part of the media?!
Louisa Hufstader June 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Scott, here's my motto: We Are All The Media. But I draw the line at TV news myself: "Pulverized" is the perfect word for how I feel when I watch, which isn't often. (Do you remember how in "Calvin & Hobbes," Bill Watterson drew the little TV leaping up and down on the table like Rumpelstiltskin?)

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