Barring any appeals, three Valley counties -- Fresno, Tulare and Kings -- will get tens of millions of dollars for new jail projects that were authorized Thursday by the Board of State and Community Corrections.
Fresno County's share of nearly $79.2 million will pay for new programs and jail facilities near the existing jail.
Tulare County was awarded $40 million and Kings County was awarded $20 million. It will be about a year before the funding begins flowing to the counties and three to four years before they are finished, said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
Fresno County plans to build a three-story, $88 million jail -- known as the west annex -- that would replace the antiquated 1940s-era south annex jail, south of Fresno Street across from the main jail.
Fresno County was required to chip in about $8.8 million.
The new 300-bed facility would be adjacent to the existing main and north annex jails at Merced and L streets. It will have 199 fewer beds than the south annex, but outdated cells will be replaced with pods that allow more inmate supervision. It will also offer program space, medical/mental health services, video visitation and a stand-alone laundry and storage building.
"It will be four to five years before you put the first inmate in," Mims said. "There is a whole lot of planning that needs to be done before you break ground."
There is no discussion about how the existing south annex will be reused, but a portion of the old building will be needed to hold inmates for court, she said.
Overall, 12 counties were fully funded and three others had partial requests awarded. State legislation approved in 2012 provides $500 million to reduce recidivism and add inmate programs.
"This was the big hurdle today," said Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson.
The funding awards could be adjusted if appeals are upheld. Appeals are expected from Butte and Stanislaus counties, which could affect Tulare County's award in the medium-sized county category.
Butte and Stanislaus had higher overall scores than Tulare but fewer of the important preference points that vaulted Tulare ahead of them, according to state documents.
Tulare County plans a $44.4 million, 388-bed men's jail at Sequoia Field, near the site of its existing facility, which has 302 beds.
Inmates will get housed in small groups. The new facility will include classrooms for education, behavioral therapy and vocational instruction. There also is space for cells to segregate inmates from the general population.
Kings County's project at the county Government Center will cost $21.05 million and include 24 mental health beds. Today, Kings County has no beds for mental health services at the jail. It also will include an area for vocational instruction and a culinary kitchen.
Robinson said the jail has 65 inmates in its general housing unit with mental health issues.
"This will allow us to treat these inmates the best we can for whatever their deficiency may be," he said.
Its opening is set for 2017, he said.
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