FAIRFIELD — Solano County has succeeded in its attempt to get a $23 million state grant so it can build a $25.6 million jobs training center at the Claybank Jail.
The Board of State and Community Corrections on Jan. 16 awarded a total of $500 million to 15 counties for jail expansions. The projects are related to California’s efforts to “realign” some inmates who once went to state prison to county jails.
Thirty-six counties competed for the money in three categories, according to their size. Solano County under the scoring system placed third out of 11 medium-sized counties, good enough to get a grant.
Sheriff Tom Ferrara welcomed news that the jobs training center can get built.
“It’s perfect,” he said Tuesday. “I have no doubt this will reduce recidivism.”
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Linda Seifert also welcomed the news.
“It’s really I think one of those projects that contributes to public safety and to the health of our community,” Seifert said Tuesday.
The construction project is to take place at the Claybank Jail located at 2500 Clay Bank Drive in Fairfield. The jail has 379 beds. An $89 million expansion is underway that will add 362 beds. Work on that expansion project is to be completed this year.
Now comes the $23 million state grant to fund yet another Claybank Jail expansion project, one that goes in a different direction than adding more beds.
Solano County plans to build a jobs training center so inmates can learn skills to help them get jobs after their release. Skills to be taught include driving trucks and buses; doing diesel mechanics; installing solar panels, wind turbines and other green energy sources; maintaining vehicles; doing body work; and cooking.
“This is really an opportunity to make a difference in changing behavior and providing some skills and training for those men and woman who are incarcerated,” Seifert said.
Ferrara said an inmate might leave jail after two to five years and get a job as a bus driver or mechanic.
A tentative schedule calls for construction to begin in May 2016 and be completed in August 2017, a county report said.
The Solano County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 22, 2013, approved providing $2.6 million for the project, to meet the match requirement of the state grant. It approved using $1.3 million in public safety developer fees and $440,000 from public safety realignment money. The remaining $849,000 is to be the land value of the county-owned site.
Supervisors also approved an addendum to the 2007 Claybank Jail environmental impact report to cover the jobs training center.
County spokesman Stephen Pierce on Tuesday said the project is close to being “shovel ready.”
That “shovel-ready” status helped the county compete for the state money. A Board of State and Community Corrections press release said construction projects deemed most ready to begin got weighted more heavily in the competitive scoring system.
Among other Bay Area counties, Napa County will receive $13.4 million for a work furlough facility and San Mateo County will receive $24.3 million to renovate the Maguire Correctional Facility.
The largest award is $80 million to Orange County for a new jail with 384 beds.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.