Stanislaus County could seek $40 million to build another jail facility, this one geared for in-custody vocational and educational programs to help offenders become law-abiding citizens.
This evening, supervisors could give the OK for sending the proposal to the state for a center with up to 288 beds of what is called transitional jail housing. The project, called REACT (Re-Entry and Enhanced Alternatives to Custodial Training), would be built near the Public Safety Center on Hackett Road, where the Sheriffs Department recently completed a 192-bed lockup to replace the Honor Farm and plans an $89.5 million jail expansion with up to 552 beds.
The new facility primarily would replace the 58-year-old jail in downtown Modesto and provide a secure facility that is not solely for incarceration, a staff report says. Facilities for temporarily holding and transporting prisoners who have court appearances would remain at the downtown site.
Sheriff Adam Christianson said Monday that the project is consistent with the states realignment philosophy, which makes counties responsible for rehabilitation of lower-level offenders.
The center would provide programming for inmates as they transition from incarceration to being released back into the community. Programs and services at the center would be focused on addiction, job skills training, education and mental health. We want to give them the tools and resources needed to be successful and not reoffend, Christianson said.
About $4.7 million in local funding would be contributed to the project from county public facility fees and fund balances. The total price tag for design and construction is $44.7 million.
Stanislaus County officials had discussed the need for a re-entry facility years before the state instituted public safety realignment in October 2011. Christianson said realignment has exacerbated the countys need for detention facilities as nonviolent offenders are diverted from state prisons to the county.
The sheriff said his department has partnered with Modesto City Schools on a welding program, but specific vocational programs have not been identified for the proposed center.
He said the county has a good chance of getting approval for the state funding because of its extensive planning for detention and rehabilitation facilities. The 288-bed center would be staffed by sheriffs personnel moved from the downtown jail, which has capacity for 396 prisoners.
The expansion projects in the works would give the county capacity for housing 1,758 inmates, or a net increase of 444 beds.
The county chief executives office will ask supervisors this evening to approve an updated jail needs assessment by Crout Criminal Justice Consulting. County officials should hear by January whether the funding request is approved. Construction of the center could be completed by 2018.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2321.