Porterville to build a new county jail

PORTERVILLE, Calif.

Porterville police officers spend hours on the road just to transport inmates to Tulare County's main jail. The construction of a new county jail in Porterville is expected to provide many gains for the city and its residents.

Law enforcement officials from across Tulare County met in Visalia on Friday as part of an educational conference on the state's new inmate realignment program. California's new law -- means counties have responsibility of its non-violent offenders.

The inmate realignment has also put more stress on county jails. The increased inmate population, though, brought funding for a new jail. On Thursday the state awarded Tulare County $60 million to build a jail in Porterville.

Officials hope the new South County Jail will be built near the new south County Justice Center in Porterville. The $93 million courthouse is already under construction and will bring more county services to the area. Officers with the Porterville Police Department say the two new facilities mean big savings for their agency.

Officers can only hold inmates in their station's booking facilities for so long before they have to be transported.

Sgt. Rick Carrillo says cutting down on driving time and other court responsibilities in Visalia, means more officers out on patrol.

County officials are still working on where the new jail will go in Porterville. They're hoping it is within a few miles of the new Porterville courthouse.

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