Because of financial constraints, the Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility in Oakland closed in June, causing its inmates to be transferred nearly 30 miles to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelley.
Though the decision to close the facility was officially made in April, its closure had been discussed for years. The change is also poised to benefit inmates, as the Dublin facility is better equipped with medical, technological and legal resources, according to Kelley.
Santa Rita Jail is also known to provide its inmates with better access to medical care and local courts, including the East County Hall of Justice. Kelley added that Santa Rita is also home to better education programs and is more technologically advanced, using solar power for more than half of its daily electrical needs.
Kelley added that despite the benefits, the commute to Santa Rita Jail is longer for both officers and visitors.
“It takes time to transport people out to Dublin, especially during commute hours,” Kelley said. “It takes officers off the street.”
Santa Rita is equipped to hold about 4,000 inmates and is the third-largest detention facility in California, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office website. Despite its high capacity, the facility has historically housed about 2,000 inmates.
When the Glenn E. Dyer facility was active, it was also at half capacity, typically holding about 400 inmates.
“(We) had to look at the fact that we had a county jail sitting at half capacity, (and we were) trying to manage two facilities both at half capacity,” Kelley said.
Despite the benefits of moving the facility, the distance has raised some concerns among both police officers and visitors.
According to Kelley, a trip to the Santa Rita facility is often prolonged by traffic, which could make a 30-minute drive “take two hours.”
Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Byron White added that Glenn Dyer’s closing will have “minimal impact on individual BPD patrol officers,” as BPD has its own jail facility that can hold detainees for a few days.
However, local police agencies that do not have a temporary jail facility may have to rely on the BPD’s facility, White added in an email.
The BPD facility has previously assisted the BART Police Department, UCPD, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Highway Patrol and the Emeryville Police Department. Law enforcement agencies that have not used BPD’s facility will now have to rely on it, according to White.
“All in all, since this has been in effect … we’ve all adapted and adjusted,” Kelley said.