Nov 12, 2015 4:20 PM by News Staff
California has award $500 million to 15 counties for jail projects to help rehabilitate prisoners, and $40 million of that is going to Butte County.
County sheriffs say they need the money to provide programs in jails that were never designed to hold the type of inmate they house today.
In August, the Butte County Board of Supervisors approved Sheriff Kory Honea’s request to apply for the $40 million in state funding under a jail construction program.
The Board of State and Community Corrections approved the projects Thursday but encouraged Butte County to avoid using money from a fee on inmate phone calls and commissary items. Critics say it adds insult to injury to use the inmate welfare money for a new jail.
The other projects are in Alameda, Amador, Colusa, Humboldt, Merced, Napa, Placer, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Trinity, Ventura, Yolo and Yuba counties.
The money will help fund a roughly 45,000 square foot facility to be built adjacent to the county jail in Oroville. The expansion will include 96 beds for medium and maximum security inmates, and 36 beds of medical and mental health housing. The total cost of the project is expected to be around $44 million, with Butte County paying 10 percent. Butte County’s portion of the cost will be funded by a development impact fee, which is a fee on the construction of new homes.
Some critics say the state should not be spending money on jails at the same time there is a national movement to reduce mass incarceration.
Others say at least the money will help reduce the cycle of crime.