Officials in the Tulare County break ground on new jail

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Wednesday, South Valley officials broke ground on that new $66 million jail near Porterville. (KFSN)

It's one of the largest construction projects of the last two decades in Tulare County. And Wednesday, South Valley officials broke ground on that new $66 million jail near Porterville.

"We will have the most state of the art facility here in Tulare County," said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.

Boudreaux has a vision for the new South County Jail in Porterville. More than a modern facility, he believes it will be safe, spacious, and save taxpayers money.

"For us, it's going to cut down on our transportation costs, our maintenance costs, our fuel costs, as well as our local law enforcement that are in the south part of the county," Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux explained, saying officers are taken off the street for at least an hour when transporting inmates from the southern half of the county to the detention facilities north of Visalia.

But the new South County Detention Facility is expected to speed up that process, and also hold those inmates who have trials at the new Porterville Courthouse.

It's the first jail built in Tulare County since the Pre-Trial Facility. The Pre-Trial Facility has 384 beds and was built in 1999.

When finished in 18 to 24 months, the South County Detention Facility will be able to hold more than 500 inmates.

A state grant covered the bulk of the $66 million project. The same goes for another $40 million criminal justice facility that will eventually be built near the Bob Wiley and Pre-Trial Facilities.

The sheriff says that project will put a priority on rehabilitation programs, with the goal of reducing recidivism rates.

"Make no mistake, there are those who need to be in jail, and that's what these jail facilities will be built for as well, to house those people who have violated the law and need to serve their time," Boudreaux said. "But there's also that component of rehabilitation that's so important."

"Your county and your county partners have a keen eye on working towards rehabilitating individuals and slowing the roll of recidivism that we see repeatedly when people cycle in and out of local systems," said Board of State and Community Corrections Chair Linda Penner.

Boudreaux said they will also farm and ranch on the new jail space, just like they do near the detention facilities north of Visalia.

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