By Angel Lizardi |Staff Writer|
Hundreds of high-ranking police officials gathered in the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto to celebrate the opening of the brand new expanded jail.
The project took three years and added 1,392 extra beds and increased the jails “footprint” by 297,000 sq ft and added 8 acres according to The Sun.
The expansion also includes new dental and medical facilities that would eliminate the necessity to transport inmates who require those services to another location.
In addition, the expansion will help relieve jail overcrowding in the area due to the state realigning the prisoners.
San Bernardino Country Sheriff John McMahon lauded the expansion, saying the expansion is a “step forward in corrections business.”
“We’ve constructed a facility that is truly state of the art,” said McMahon.
The expansion cost $145 million, however, $100 million was funded by the state due to the statewide jail construction legislation.
The county also funded $39.2 million of the project through the Future Space Needs reserves and Public Safety Operations Project savings.
The rest of the money was funded through General Fund Contingencies.
Taxpayers saved roughly $30 million by upgrading the facility as opposed to building an entirely new building according to a news release from San Bernardino County.
According to an LA Times article from 2006, the expansion was first expected to be an $86 million expansion, however due to unforeseen circumstances they had to request more money from the state.
Construction on the project began in 2011 and included a new 2,500-square-foot booking building, three housing units, remodeled kitchen and laundry facilities, a new parking lot and fire access roads.
Due to the expansion McMahon says that officers can go out on patrol sooner now that they don’t have to drive to Rancho Cucamonga.
Robert Lovingood, San Bernardino County Supervisor said the new expansion will save deputies in the high desert up to three hours by not having to drive them to Racho Cucamonga.
“That’s efficiency. That’s more sheriffs (deputies) on the streets, and that’s what we have to work to achieve,” said Lovingood.
“The facility is equipped with a high definition video-surveillance system, and video monitors in each housing unit will allow inmates to visit with family and others. They will no longer be allowed face-to-face visitations because inmate movement is being restricted for security purposes,” said the jail’s commander Capt. Jon Marhoefer according to The Sun.
The jail’s expanded wing will open in three phases, the first phase will see 222 beds filled within the next couple weeks, and the inmates who get those beds will be those whose cases are being heard in High Desert courtrooms.
Students opinions were mixed upon hearing the news.
I’d feel safer in San Bernardino with the county being able to retain the inmates” said student Shadya Qasem.
However, some students believe that the money should have been allocated to help the inmates.
“I believe that the county should implement rehabilitation programs or attempt to teach them trades that they will be able to use so they can get the opportunity to contribute to the economy,” said student Edgar Astorga.