Construction work to expand and renovate the Monroe Detention Center in Yolo County began Tuesday morning, according to the Yolo County Sheriff's Office.
The project, which is expected to cost $44 million, will add 32 beds, provide a stand-alone kitchen and laundry facility, improve mental health and medical facilities, and renovate the booking area, according to a news release.
The work comes after the 2011 passage of Assembly Bill 109, which reassigned people convicted of less serious felonies from state prisons to local jails like Monroe. After the bill's passage, Yolo County started taking in inmates who were serving longer sentences — according to Matthew Davis, spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office, inmates can now serve upwards of 20 years at the detention center.
"We're adjusting to those new realities," Davis said.
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No inmates will be displaced during the construction process, and the project is scheduled to be completed by 2021.
The detention center, built in 1989, was not originally designed to accommodate inmates serving long-term sentences, according to Davis. The expansion aims to allow more space for programming that will better prepare inmates for life after their incarceration.
About 80 percent ($36 million) of the cost for construction will be covered by a grant funded by Assembly Bill 900, which provided financing for jail reconstruction to counties across California. The grant was awarded by the Board of State and Community Corrections, in conjunction with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.