Merced County Jail may shutdown


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Sheriff Mark Pazin told Action News he has proposed closing the downtown jail in order to cut $8 million from his budget.

That comes after the county asked every department to submit proposals to slash 20% from their budgets to close a $20 million deficit.

If the main jail closes, about twenty correctional officers and support staff may lose their jobs, and hundreds of low-level inmates could be released early.

All of the highest risk offenders would be held at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility on Sandy Mush Road near Highway 59.

Jeff Miller said, "The John Latorraca was built for low risk to minimum inmates. It does not have the capability of capacity to absorb the main jail."

Sheriff Mark Pazin said, "We were forced, and I emphasize forced, to go ahead and make a proposal to the executive office that I did not embrace, I do not advocate."

The county's C.E.O. says none of the cost-cutting proposals he's received from the various departments are final. He'll review them and present a proposed budget to the board of supervisors on June 28th.

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