Kings County Jail Awarded $30 Million Dollars of State Money

Hanford, CA Kings County has just been awarded $30 million dollars of state money to expand the walls of its jail. Officials want to use the money to begin Phase Two of the already packed facility. Phase Two would bring 170 more beds to the jail. Right now, the jail is at capacity with 23 inmates sleeping on the floor.

Assistant Sheriff, Brian Wheat, says, "There would be some added program space because in the first phase we were so worried about getting as many beds out of the money we had."

The county's plan would also bring expanded medical services as well as new classrooms where inmates can earn their G-E-D and get other help. Brian Wheat says, "Drug and alcohol and Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous-type of programs that are offered- we'd like to expand some of those."

The biggest benefit of this state money will be easing overcrowding. In the last eight months, the jail has released almost 400 inmates early. But this money comes with a significant catch. Kings County must help the state out by securing a 12-acre site near the Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga. The state wants to build a new re-entry facility there.

Kings County Management Analyst Rebecca Campbell says, "What that means is that we have to work with those entities to make that a viable place for a re-entry facility for all the state and for us and for the city of Coalinga.

Kings County has 90 days to secure the land for the state. Campbell says, What they're proposing to do is give tehse inmates the tools to succeed in society and overall reduce recidivism. If Coalinga approves the land to eb used for the re-entry facility, Kings County could break ground on Phase Two of the jail in September.

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