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Plan calls for Auburn’s county jail to shrink

Drop in jail beds would be part of $3.3M retrofit
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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With several question marks looming on the state corrections horizon, Placer County is hedging its bets on the number of jail beds it will keep open at its North Auburn facility.

The Board of Supervisors will consider a $3.3 million retrofit plan for one of the units at the Richardson Drive jail that would drop the number of beds down to 264 from 276.

But that’s much higher than an initial plan the board looked at in February that would have trimmed the bed count to 200.

Sheriff’s Office Administrative Services Manager Mark Giacomini said in a report that since the retrofit was first presented earlier this year, the state has introduced several major pieces of legislation affecting the criminal justice system — and resulted in a revision to plans.

New wrinkles include bail reform and mental health diversion programs.

“These initiatives have left the criminal justice system in a state of flux, as there is no method by which to accurately measure the mid- to long-term impacts of the legislative changes at this time,” Giacomini said.

While the intent of the new legislation may be to ultimately lower jail populations across the state, the consensus among law-enforcement agencies and courts is that numbers could trend upward once full bail reform is in place, he stated.

Because of unknown potential impacts on jail-size needs, the Sheriff’s Office will be asking the board to approve the modification to 264 jail beds rather than 200.

The reduction of a dozen beds would drop the system-wide jail-bed total from 912 to 900.

The $3.3 million will pay for added security cameras, new flooring and paint, new furnishings, Americans With Disabilities Act improvements to restrooms and dayrooms, a secured walkway to the existing dock area and an enclosure around officer stations to provide separation from dayrooms.

Tuesday’s meeting is to start at 9 a.m. in the County Administrative Center, 174 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn.