The New South Placer Adult Correctional Facility
The opening of the South Placer Adult Correctional Facility in West Placer is more than simply making more beds available to house more offenders. The state of the art facility, when fully operational, is a critical component to the County’s public safety mission, and will provide the county much needed extra capacity and also provide a safer means of delivering treatment and services to the jail population.
As you may recall, the AB 109 legislation commonly called “realignment” required placement of many low level offenders back to serve sentences in the counties in which they committed their crimes which has resulted in jail overcrowding. California County jails now house sophisticated, criminally experienced offenders, offenders that pose a new and serious threat to themselves, other offenders and jail staff.
The County’s main jail in Auburn is dated and under a Court order requiring offenders to be released when jail capacity reaches a certain level. Releasing inmates is a disincentive to our justice system and could translate into a safety issue when offenders are released without adequate supervision. In order to address the influx of AB 109 offenders and to better utilize our public safety resources, Placer County has embarked on an evaluation of its entire criminal justice system. We are completing a Criminal Justice Master Plan that is looking at all aspects of the system: the jails, the Sheriff, the Probation Department, the Court, the District Attorney, and the Health and Human Services departments that provide treatment and medical programs during incarceration and after release. While the Plan is important, it is one tool in an overall assessment of how we can do better with limited resources.
In addition to housing more sophisticated offenders, AB 109 requires the County to incorporate “risk-based” assessment tools that can help predict if an inmate is likely to reoffend, and provide resources to change anticipated future behavior. The County has a good foundation of court-based programs that serve as jail alternatives: Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and Veteran’s Court. We have also adopted tools to assess if someone who is arrested and released from jail before trial is likely to commit more crimes while out on bail.
The new Facility is secure, efficient and paid for. Through a series of complex budget adjustments, the County has developed a funding plan to get the facility up and running in phases so as not to place a drain on the County’s general fund or impact the provision of critical county services.
The first phase of the facility includes opening multiple housing units and contains all the support services needed to operate the facility. Offenders don’t need to leave the facility for medical or dental services and all laundry and food services are performed onsite. Offenders are transported to court through a secure underground tunnel that connects the jail to the courthouse, to minimize escape risk and lower opportunities to injure staff. Visitation, booking and release are all more secure with the new facility, including television/Internet visitation to minimize persons accessing the jail and reduces contraband from being brought into the facility.
A safe and secure County is a top priority for the Board of Supervisors. I am happy to report that Placer County does not have criminal activity to the degree experienced by many other counties in the state. And by honestly looking at how we run our system, we can make any adjustments that are needed to keep our residents safe, and ensure the criminal population gets the jail time, help and services they need to become law-abiding and productive members of our society.
As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you. I welcome your feedback and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 916-787-8950.