County jails to get $500 million to upgrade programs

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Board of State and Community Corrections has approved awards totaling $500 million to 15 counties across the state to upgrade local jails.

The money will go towards upgrading the rehabilitative program space that meets Gov. Jerry Brown's prison and public safety realignment goals, according to the BSSC.

The counties that received the funding will use it for a range of purposes including space for GED and substance abuse classes, day reporting centers for paroled offenders, transitional housing and upgraded jail bed space.

Some county representatives not awarded funding had concerns about the scoring process, particularly the preference criteria. Counties that did not receive funding have 30 days to file appeals.

A total of thirty six counties submitted requests for funding. The 15 counties that received the funding are Tuolumne, Napa, Shasta, Lake, Tehama, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Solano, Tulare, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Fresno, Orange and Sacramento.

Realignment seeks to improve rehabilitation results by keeping offenders close to families and support systems. It includes constitutionally guaranteed funding for proven programs that support offenders’ successful transition back into the community.

Many jails do not have classroom space for training and rehabilitation programs. The bill associated with the funding, SB 1022, specified that counties would be considered that are seeking to replace or upgrade outdated facilities and provide alternatives to incarceration, including mental health and substance treatment.

Construction projects deemed most ready to begin were more heavily weighted. Counties also were required to show they have set aside a minimum of 10 percent of the total project costs, according to the BSCC.

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