Santa Barbara County Receives $60 Million for New Jail
Santa Barbara - March 8th, 2012
Santa Barbara County has taken a major step toward building a new North County Jail with today’s announcement that the Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) has awarded the project a partial grant award of $60-million, with another $20 million in funding expecting at a future date.
In 2008, the CSA awarded the County a $56.3 million grant through the first phase of Assembly Bill 900 to reduce the early release of inmates by increasing jail capacity. In 2011, the Sheriff’s Office reapplied under Phase II of AB900 for an increased grant of $80 million, the maximum possible under the medium sized county category guidelines.
Santa Barbara County was required to relinquish its Phase I grant money in order to apply for Phase II funding. The advantage of the Phase II award included a reduced county match (10% versus 25% under Phase I) and the opportunity to increase the scope of the proposed jail project (376 beds instead of 304 plus the addition of a medical and mental health facility). This was especially important due to the increased demands that have been placed on the County’s limited and already overcrowded jail capacity as a result of state prison realignment (AB109).
Today the CSA awarded a partial grant of $60 million, to Santa Barbara County, which represented the remaining funds available in the medium sized county category under Phase II. However, the award is likely to balloon to $80 million if and when the State Legislature acts to move the County’s relinquished Phase I award to Phase II.
“We’ve already gained another $4 million dollars by reapplying, but we expect to get an additional $20 million before the process is over,” said Sheriff Bill Brown who travelled to Sacramento today where he addressed the CSA Board prior to its decision. “Ultimately this means more bed space and better services at a lower cost to Santa Barbara County.”
The modifications to the jail plans are vital, given that the County is now assuming the responsibility for hundreds of new prisoners who were previously the responsibility of the State. Many of these will be long-term inmates. This is the result of AB 109, which was not in effect at the time the Sheriff’s Office applied for the previous grant under AB900 Phase I.
“This is an important milestone toward getting a much needed new jail. However, we still have several challenges ahead of us,” said Sheriff Brown. “I want to express my profound appreciation to those members of my staff and other members of the County team for their extraordinary work in preparing this grant application. I also want to thank the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for passing a resolution making this award possible, and for the steps they have taken to set aside money for the operating costs for the new jail.”
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