HANFORD, Calif. — Construction on the Kings County jail addition in Hanford began on July 28. The 252-bed project is yet another California project being constructed to help relieve overcrowding as a result of prison realignment.
It is the first jail to break ground under Phase II of AB 900 in which lower-level felons have begun serving time in jails as opposed to California prisons. The Kings County jail population has more than doubled since realignment. It now has about 600 inmates, compared to the 280 inmates it housed on average just three years ago.
The project consists of an expansion to the existing county jail, which will result in approximately 67,390 square feet of additional new housing construction, renovation, support services and infrastructure. The new two-story building will provide eight medium- and maximum-security housing units. Six of the housing units will contain eight single-occupancy cells and 64 double-occupancy cells, as well as two housing units that contain a total of 104 dormitory beds, as defined in the scope of work provided by Sacramento-based DLR Group, the architect on the project. All of the new housing units will contain dayroom and adjacent program space, and a new recreation yard will also be constructed.
In addition, a new medical infirmary unit will be constructed, which will provide space for medical, dental and mental health treatment and include 12 special-use beds. The expansion will also include new security and intake or booking space, administrative space, warehouse space, a central plant, laundry and program space for rehabilitative, self-help, religion and education programs. The renovation portion will consist of minor alterations to approximately 1,898 square feet of the jail’s existing spaces to support the project.
Construction on the Kings County jail addition is scheduled for completion in December 2015 and will start receiving inmates as early as April 2016. In the meantime, Kings County has other jail-related construction projects underway: a holding cell project and a tunnel connecting the jail to the new Kings County courthouse. Construction on the new 144,460-square-foot courthouse broke ground last fall.
California will pay $33 million towards the $40.5 million Kings County jail addition project, while the county will cover the rest. Other counties have also received state funding. Tulare County was awarded $60 million in state funding for a jail in Porterville, and Fresno County was awarded $80 million for a jail in downtown Fresno.