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Sacramento County could move forward on Main Jail expansion

County staff said the expansion is about generating positive outcomes and reducing recidivism and not increasing bed capacity.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif — Pending a Board of Supervisors vote, an expansion for the Sacramento County Main Jail could move forward as the county continues to address problems with the facility.

If approved per county staff recommendations, Kitchell/CEM, Inc. would pick up a $10 million contract to oversee design and perform construction management services.

The expansion includes the design and construction of a new standalone facility meant to improve correctional health and mental health services at the Main Jail site.

County staff said the project addresses concerns at the current Main Jail facility in regard to space and operational issues related to HIPPA and the ADA and a need for additional medical facilities, mental health space, and programming space.

The project will also ensure the jail conforms with the Mays Consent Decree and Implementation Plan for Settlement. It stems from a lawsuit called Mays v. County of Sacramento, which alleged that the county "failed to provide constitutionally-required mental health and medical care to people in the jail, has imposed harsh and extreme solitary confinement conditions that disproportionately affect people with mental illness, and has discriminated against people with disabilities."

In a Board of Supervisors synopsis, county staff said the requirements can't be done in the Main Jail facility due to square footage limitations. They added that the project isn't about increasing bed capacity at the jail and, instead, focuses on generating positive outcomes and reducing recidivism.

The project would see an intake area with room for social distancing, teams to evaluate offenders for services and programs, a medical clinic with more services, and designs for "healing environments and a variety of housing options" for mental health services.

Nacht and Lewis Architects, Inc. was chosen back in April 2020 to design the new facility. With a contract approval, Kitchell would help them in the process and perform construction management services. 

The contract is expected to be voted on during the Jan. 26, 2021, Board of Supervisors meeting.

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