Contra Costa misses out on jail grant

Five other local counties receive funds from state corrections board

Five Bay Area counties were awarded state grants Thursday to construct new jail facilities through the Board of State and Community Corrections.

Santa Clara, San Francisco, Alameda, Napa and Sonoma counties were among the 15 recipients of the grants while Contra Costa County was among the applicants whose bids for funding were denied.

The funds were made possible through the state's 2014-15 budget and state Senate Bill 863, the Adult Local Criminal Justice Facility Financing bill, board officials said. The grant is conditional upon each county replacing outdated, dense, inmate housing with an improved center that reduces recidivism while protecting public safety.

Contra Costa County's application for $80 million from the board to expand the West County Detention Facility in Richmond with 400 beds for 1,000 inmates was rejected, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said.

"We supported the expressed intent of the application, which was to provide expanded mental health, education and re-entry services," Butt said in a statement Thursday.

"However, the Sheriff's Office failed to provide a plan of how these programs would be funded at a cost of $4 to $5 million annually and a commitment to permanently close down unneeded facilities in Martinez," Butt said.

The board granted Santa Clara County's request for $80 million to build a new seven-story facility for 105 single-person cells and 710 beds in double-occupancy cells, board officials said.

The county plans to construct areas for programming; visitation and recreation; and mental health and program spaces, board officials said.

The estimated $243 million facility will be built next to the Main Jail North facility near San Pedro and West Hedding streets in San Jose, county officials said.

Construction is slated to start in September 2017 and continue for two years, county officials said.

There are plans to close the Main Jail South facility, which was built in the 1950s, and some housing units at the Elmwood Correctional facility in Milpitas, according to county officials.

Five floors will be dedicated to housing inmates and one floor to accommodate the county's Reentry Services program, which connects people with 90 days or less left on their sentence with services from community-based organization, medical providers and employers, according to county officials.

In San Francisco, $80 million will be used for a 384-bed facility, 444 fewer than the present jails, if city officials vote to move ahead with the project, board officials said.

The new jail will have space for counseling, computers, classrooms and vocational training in addition to mental health and medical units for mental health and drug treatment, according to the office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

The city's Jails Nos. 3 and 4 at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. will be replaced with a new standalone facility estimated to cost $240 million, city officials said.

A coalition comprised of community groups called No New SF Jail, which is against the project based on reduced numbers of inmates, has asked the city to use close the jails and dedicate additional money to programs that keep people away from jails.

Alameda County has proposed to build a Mental Health, Program and Service Unit and renovate housing spaces with a $54,340,000 grant it received from the state, board officials said.

Sonoma County has planned construction for a new one-story Behavioral Health Unit where the current one stands to provide 72 beds, according to the board.

A partial award of $2,821,000 was given to Napa County, which had originally asked for $20 million, for a secure housing facility with 64 cells and a medical and mental health treatment unit with 17 beds, board officials said.

A total of $1.2 billion was requested from 32 counties that applied for the grant, board officials said.

— Bay City News Service

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6 people like this
Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2015 at 11:56 pm

Mayor Butt has nobody but he and his fellow council members to blame.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Nov 18, 2015 at 6:31 am

I belive this to be great news for contra costa county and its residents. Building a better and safer community begins at home and school. If we focus are resources on encouraging are youth and reach out to help others we can support them in a healthy lifestyle. Instead of kicking them when there down reach out, get to know your neighbors, so many are struggling in life and feel they have no where to turn. Its real easy to say I have no problem so what is wrong with them. We need to support everyone and let them know people care. Not everyone is ready for help, but for everyone who turns their life around in a positive manner or for everyone who is fortunate enough to not have gone down that road, we all benefit as a whole. Unfortunately some people do need to be removed from society at times, but I believe we can limit that number by getting more involved in our communitys. Find out ways you can give back.

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