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A Look Inside Tuolumne County Jail

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Tuolumne, like many counties, is facing the challenges of an overcrowded jail.

Jail Commander J.P. Jones says he is forced to cap the population at 140. If the jail is at capacity, officials are forced to let a prisoner go in order to make room for another. In the last year and a half, he says the county has released around 740 prisoners early.

Jones notes that most prisoners are repeat offenders. In fact, he estimates that 60-65% fall into the category.

54% of all Tuolumne County jail mates have mental health needs. Jones says the number is a bit of a surprise, considering the state average is 19%.

One recent trend the staff has noticed is the increase in the amount of women behind bars. Ten years ago, the jail held between seven to ten women at a time. Within the last three years, it has ballooned.

Jones says the jail has 32 female beds, and for the most part each one is always occupied. Most females are arrested for drug related offenses.

Tuolumne County Jail has been in use for over four decades.

Written by BJ Hansen