FAIRFIELD — Solano County is changing its plans for future Claybank Jail expansions in light of a new state focus on rehabilitating inmates.
The existing jail at 2500 Clay Bank Road has 379 beds. The county is building a 365-bed, $89 million expansion that is to be completed next year and that project remains unchanged.
A 2007 environmental impact report looks even further ahead, with plans to someday add yet another 1,000 beds to the Claybank Jail. But the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a revised environmental report that goes in a different direction.
The new plans instead call for a 10,000-square-foot classroom training center, a 30,000-square-foot vocational training center, an asphalt area for drivers’ training with trucks and buses, landscaping and parking. The vocational training center is to include bays equipped with hydraulic lifts for vehicles. One bay would be used to paint vehicles.
Solano County has until Oct. 24 to submit a plan to the state, with the goal of getting $40 million in state funding. That would be enough to build the project. The county must pay 10 percent of the project’s cost.
The Board of Supervisors on Oct. 22 is to again discuss submitting the proposal to the state.
Sheriff’s Lt. Mitch Mashburn said the latest projections show the extra 1,000 beds called for in the 2007 environmental impact report aren’t needed in the foreseeable future. In addition to the Claybank Jail beds, the county has another 702 beds at the downtown jail, he said.
But, Sheriff’s Background Investigator Keith Bloomfield said, the county still has room to add more beds at the Clay Bank Road site, if the need for further expansion arises. Building the vocational center project doesn’t preclude that possibility.
Inmates who use the vocational training center could already have a job waiting for them when they are released from jail, Mashburn said.
Bloomfield said the vocational center will work with the Centers for Positive Change. Those centers are a program by the county Probation Department for former inmates to give them life and job skills. Bloomfield said the relationship between the two programs would be a “warm handshake” and Mashburn called it “continuity of care.”
Supervisor John Vasquez said the county has been looking at these type of “re-entry” programs for several years. The programs would help people in jail who live in Solano County become productive citizens, he said.
Supervisor Linda Seifert praised the overall idea. But she wanted to know how much the county will be paying for the match and where it will get the money. The answers are to come at a future meeting.
California is making $500 million available for building, expanding and renovating county criminal justice facilities, with various categories, Mashburn said. Solano County would compete with 13 other medium-sized counties for a total of $160 million. It could learn if it gets the requested $40 million in state money in December or early next year, he said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.