Goal will be to build facilities that support reentry services
Sacramento County’s Sheriff Department has tentatively been awarded $56.4 million for building construction at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC). The funds will go toward constructing a new medical/intake building, in addition to various classrooms, a larger updated kitchen, and a laundry facility. Many of these facilities will help provide inmates with more opportunities for success once they leave RCCC and enter back into society.
The RCCC, located off Bruceville Road in the southern region of the county, was originally built in 1960 and the intended funds will be used to build more up-to-date facilities aimed at both efficiency and service for the inmates. For example, the new kitchen would provide inmates with cooking classes and the ability to earn certificates in the culinary industry. Additionally, the new kitchen is slated to be move to a more central location that is closer to secure loading docks to make food delivery more convenient and effective.
In addition to the culinary classes, RCCC also offers vocational training in welding and machinery. The vocational training, coupled with classes to address substance abuse, problem solving/self-change, and employment readiness creates opportunities for inmates to be prepared once they are released. Because the classes provide them with a job skill and tools to change negative habits, their likelihood of reoffending is decreased. To continue to offer these job and life skills, the new construction plans include more classrooms and computer labs, enabling more inmates to take advantage of the various classes offered.
One of the more prominent portions of the plan is the proposed medical building. This new building would treat both physical and mental illnesses, to include two updated safety cells for inmates considered suicidal. With approximately one in every three inmates having some form of mental illness, offering proper psychiatric treatment for inmates is crucial.
“These construction plans address some security issues and consider issues with space and need,” said Lieutenant Matt Petersen, assistant to the Chief of Correctional Services. “We focused on connecting our plans with the goals of realignment. These new buildings will help us to give inmates educational opportunities, which enhance reentry by giving former inmates a skill to take with them—the ability to change their lifestyle for the better.”
The State’s Realignment Plan is aimed at reducing recidivism, or criminal reoffending, in an effort to reduce prison overcrowding. Additionally, realignment requires that county facilities send fewer inmates to state prisons, keeping more offenders in local facilities. As a result, the county has had to adapt to the increase in inmates, while also decreasing recidivism rates.
The funding for these new buildings was provided by the state from money allocated for Adult Local Criminal Justice Facility Construction aimed at realignment. The $500 million available was divided among 14 small, medium and large size counties. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department received $56.4 million of the original $80 million that was requested and is seeking alternative funding sources to provide the remainder of the money needed to complete the project in its entirety. In addition, the County will create a contingency plan to see what can be built from the original plans using the partial funds that were given.
The Board of State and Community Corrections will review the award for final approval on January 16, 2014.
Writer: Kaitlin Bane, Communication and Media Intern