FAIRFIELD (CBS SF) — The inmate population at the Solano County jail has jumped by almost 250 since 2011 due to non-violent convicts being transferred under new state regulations, a sheriff’s department spokesman said.

The people housed in cells at the Sentenced Detention Facility in Fairfield reached 1,018 last week, up from 772 inmates in October 2011 when California’s state prison realignment program started, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Brad Dewall said Friday.

Under the state’s realignment law to reduce state prison populations, those arrested for less-serious, non-violent and non-sexual offenses must serve their sentences in the county jails, Dewall said.

Solano County Sheriff Thomas Ferrara decided on Friday to open an unoccupied, 80-bed section of the jail to handle the influx, Dewall said.

In a prepared statement, Ferrara said the state’s realignment mandate “is one of the most significant challenges I have encountered in my 30-year law enforcement career.”

“I continue to be fully committed to running safe, humane and secure detention facilities here in Solano County,” he said.

The sheriff’s office is building a planned 362-bed adult detention facility set to open in July 2014, according to Dewall.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)


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