100 beds at Fresno County Jail will open Thursday as inmates sent to state prison

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The Fresno County Jail will be able to take in more inmates as 100 will be sent to state prison Thursday.

Fresno’s Police Chief Andrew Hall says one of the biggest issues in recent months is those who were arrested were released back onto the streets.

“So that will free up about 100 beds – and that doesn’t equate to exactly that because they have to divide them up into different gang groups,” said Hall. “That will definitely free up beds and that is exciting news for us.”

2020 was one of the most violent years in Fresno, with over 560 shootings and over 50 murders.

On Sept. 28, Councilmember Mike Karbassi saw first hand the violence while on a ride-along with police. That night there were two murders and an attempted murder.

“It was a gang member that was killed,” said Karbassi. “I could hear the mom wailing because her kid was dead. That is just one example. There are too many mom’s screaming because their kids are getting killed.”

In October, Hall created a gang task force aimed at reducing crime.

“It has resulted in 279 felony arrests,” said Hall. “209 arrests involved gang members. We have also removed 128 illegal guns from our streets.”

For October, Hall said shootings were down 60% from the month before but he said each day inmates are released because there are no more beds at the jail.

As the Chief works on addressing the violence, the Fresno Commission on Police Reform wants changes at the department. The group’s final report has 73 recommendations headed to the city council and mayor.

The recommendations include getting rid of the homeless task force, not responding to mental health calls, and no more police officers at schools.

“I think they have some excellent ideas and I applaud their effort on this but I do think the devil is in the details on this,” said Hall. “I think it would be unwise to get rid of officers at our schools without some other option.”

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