SBCO Sheriff Badge

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 10/16/13, 9:25 PM PDT |

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon and his challengers, Paul Schrader and Clifton Harris, fielded questions Wednesday night at a candidate forum attended by hundreds at the Hilton in San Bernardino.

McMahon, of Phelan, Schrader, of Rancho Cucamonga, and Harris, of San Bernardino, are vying for the elective post of sheriff in 2014. They talked about how they would address myriad issues within the department and its jails, including inadequate jail staffing in the wake of prisoner realignment and alleged unfair promotional practices in the department.

McMahon said his first priority as sheriff is seeing through the completion of the Adelanto Detention Center expansion project, which will add more than 1,300 beds. The county risks the possibility of having to return $100 million to the state if the project fails, he said.

Staffing levels at the jails, however, continue to vex the Sheriff’s Department in the wake of prisoner realignment. Inmate-on-deputy assaults have increased by 50 percent and inmate-on-inmate assaults have increased by 100 percent since Assembly Bill 109 took effect on Oct. 1, 2011, McMahon said.

Prisoner realignment aims to reduce the state’s inmate population after a federal three-judge panel found the overcrowded conditions in California’s prisons kept inmates from receiving adequate health care.

Under AB 109, lower-level offenders, those convicted of non-serious, non-violent, non-sexual offenses, are monitored and housed by county institutions.

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