Wednesday Sep 09 2009
New jail timeline locked up
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein Press Tribune
Construction starts next month on county clink
Earn a misdemeanor stay in the Placer County Jail, and there’s a chance you might get out early – thanks to overcrowding. But that’s expected to change by 2012, when a massive new county jail project – the largest public building effort in Placer’s history – opens its doors, adding nearly 400 new beds. Next month, officials will break ground on the $100 million, environmentally friendly South Placer Adult Correctional Facility, located next to the Santucci Justice Center in Roseville. Grading and other site preparation work has already begun. Existing facilities in Auburn and Tahoe will remain, but Roseville will eventually house the majority of the county’s prisoners, officials said, in keeping with a general trend of transferring criminal-justice services to the area. “Roseville is where the future is when you look at where people are going to be living,” said Capt. George Malim, the county’s corrections division commander. “Right now, we have to bus (defendants) down all the way from Auburn.” Most of the funding for the project has already been collected, said Joel Swift, Placer County’s deputy director of facilities. The majority of the money comes from developer impact fees earned when building was booming. “We’ve been planning this literally for decades,” Swift said. The issue of prisoner space is a serious one; in the 1980s, Placer County faced a federal lawsuit over overcrowding at its main jail. The facility, designed to handle 108 people, was housing 270. The suit prompted the county to expand its jail, but keeping up with population growth is still a challenge. “We are releasing those with early credit for time served because of crowding, but we certainly don’t release violent felons,” Malim said. Designed by HDR and built by McCarthy Building Companies Inc., both of Roseville, the jail will be constructed under a “fast track” designation that speeds the process because work starts even as design is ongoing. The first phase will include a new central kitchen and other infrastructure as well as 270 regular cell beds and 170 minimum security cell beds. The site is licensed for 980 beds in all. Other highlights of the facility will include: * A tunnel connecting the jail to the justice center for easier transportation of inmates to court hearings. * The creation of 100 new staff and correctional jobs. * LEED Silver recognition, an environmentally friendly designation that officials say will in the long run reduce operations cost. “Our biggest consumer of water and gas (among county facilities) is the jail,” Swift said.