County Jail Population

Public Safety

Sheriff's Department

Annual Projection: Average daily population of 1,285 inmates
Annual Projection Status:

Result: Average daily population of 1,271 inmates

This metric represents the average daily inmate population in the county jail. It indicates the Sheriff’s Department’s ability to safely, securely and humanely house and care for inmates committed to the Sheriff’s custody by the courts.


How the Sheriff's Department is Performing

The Sheriff’s Department accepts all offenders committed to its custody by the Superior Court or other jurisdictions with legal cause. Contemporary criminal justice and enforcement practices in the Police Department, District Attorney, Adult Probation Department, State Parole and Superior Court have resulted in a declining average daily population in recent years. In fiscal year (FY) 2014-15, local criminal justice practices resulted in further declines of average daily population. However, FY 2015-16 saw a stabilization of the average daily population.

The Sheriff’s Department has committed resources to pre-trial release and alternatives-to-incarceration initiatives. Civilian employees work at the Intake and Release Center at County Jail #1 to complete individual work-ups on each arrested person. These work ups are forwarded to the Duty Judge to determine eligibility for pre-arraignment or pre-trial release. The Sheriff’s Department also employs an Electronic Monitoring Program and Work Alternative Program as options for alternatives-to-incarceration. On December 30, 2015, 936 individuals were participating in alternative sentencing and community programs administered by the Sheriff’s Department.

A number of other events and policy changes have impacted the average daily population over the last five years. For example, in 2009 a San Francisco Police Department drug lab technician admitted to taking cocaine from evidence samples. As a result, hundreds of drug cases were either dismissed or discharged due to evidentiary requirements. In October 2011, California enacted the 2011 Public Safety Realignment (Assembly Bill 109). Under this law, responsibility for many non-serious offenders was transferred from the state prison system to county jail, increasing the jail population. Finally, California voters passed Proposition 47 in November of 2014, which reduced the classification of most "non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes" from felonies to misdemeanors. Following Proposition 47's approval, inmate populations fell across the state of California, including in San Francisco. The average daily jail population in San Francisco declined from 1,303 in October 2014 to 1,153 in December 2014, likely as a result of the Proposition.

How Performance is Measured

Average daily population is compiled by Sheriff's staff from daily reports issued by each jail. Records are located in City Hall, Room 456.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the numbers in the chart above.

Additional Information

Visit the Sheriff’s Department website.


Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.