A new Butte Co. Jail would come with fees on new homes built

Feb 18, 2015 6:39 PM by Brian Johnson

Butte County's Sheriff said today that it's time for a new and improved jail to keep up with the overwhelming changes in the criminal justice system.

"Really we need a different kind of jail today," Sheriff Honea said.

Honea said after AB 109 was passed in 2011, there was a wholesale change in the California criminal justice system.

Add recently passed Proposition 47, population growth in Butte County, and Honea's mission to keep the streets and jail safe, and that all adds up to what he sees as a need for an altered jail.

"When it was constructed it was never contemplated that inmates would be in the jail for lengthy sentences such as they are today under the new sentencing schemes of AB 109," Honea said.

He said his team has done what they can to adjust to the massive shift that has brought state prison inmates into county jails.

But still.

"Some people just pose too great a risk to supervise in the community and you have to have a bed for them in the jail," Honea said.

And that means newer, higher security beds that can accommodate the more criminally sophisticated county jail inmates.

Honea said funding would come from $40 million dollars in state grant money if obtained, which requires a 10% match from the county.

That money, he said, would come from a development impact fee, or fees on the construction of new homes.

All cities within the county would collect the same amount per unit, but all would have to approve the agreement.

Butte County officials said the town of Paradise has already approved it, Oroville discussed it Tuesday night, and Chico will discuss it in March.

"I suspect that it will take a number of years ultimately to achieve," Honea said. "But it is one of the higher priorities on my agenda at this point."

Honea said one part of the jail was built in 1963, the other part in 1994.

Unlike before the passage of AB 109, he said it now houses inmates for upwards of five years.


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