Crime - Sacto 911

Yolo awarded $30.5 million for jail rebuild

Yolo County was awarded $30.5 million in state corrections funds to rebuild its medium-security Leinberger Center, part of some $500 million to improve and replace aging jails across California, officials announced Thursday,

Fifteen counties, including Amador, Butte, Colusa, Placer and Yuba, received funding approved by the state’s Board of State and Community Corrections, or BSCC. The funding was made available via a bond-financing program in the 2014-2015 budget and state Senate legislation.

The cash will help counties update outmoded facilities by expanding treatment, mental health and re-entry programs while achieving, in the board’s words, “the dual goals of reducing recidivism while protecting public safety.”

In Yolo County, the funding will bankroll a new 150-bed facility at the site on Tony Diaz Drive in Woodland. Groundbreaking is still several years away, said Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto, but plans are for the next-generation facility to also offer rehabilitative services, including parenting skills, anger control and group counseling at a daily reporting center. Security at the facility also will be improved with the new project, Prieto said.

“This will enhance an antiquated facility. It’s a positive impact for the community and a positive impact for inmates,” said Prieto.

According to BSCC officials, multipurpose rooms and staff support services also will be part of the mix.

“If we can get rehabilitation programs closer to support systems such as families, the chances of going back to jail are diminished,” said BSCC spokeswoman Tracie Cone.

Board officials selected the 15 counties earlier this month from a total of 32 applicants, officials said in a statement Thursday announcing the awards.

Though Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties were among the awardees, many, too, were rural counties stretching from the Mother Lode to the San Joaquin Valley to the northern Sacramento Valley and Redwood Coast.

That makes sense, said Prieto, considering aging facilities, budget constraints and larger local inmate populations resulting from prison realignment.

“Most of these smaller counties’ (facilities) are really antiquated – they need to be updated. (Counties) are investing a lot of money just to maintain them,” Prieto said. “Overcrowding becomes an issue. Realignment has created an issue in smaller counties.”

The counties’ projects varied but focused on rehabilitation, mental health and skills training. In Placer County, awarded $9.5 million Thursday, plans are to erect a rehabilitation and instructional training facility including re-entry housing units for men and women.

Amador County, with its nearly $17.2 million award, plans a new facility to add space for medical and mental health treatment, along with maximum-security beds.

Meanwhile, Yuba and Colusa counties – which got 20 million each – plan to address medical and mental health treatment needs.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith