Skagit County Breaks Ground on New Jail

By Jessie Fetterling
In need of new facilities for more than a decade, Skagit County finally broke ground on a new jail in mid-November. The county outgrew the existing facility, which opened in 1984 with a capacity of 83 inmates and state funding for 73. The current population is about 2.5 times that, with a daily average of 188 inmates, according to the county website. It is a popular remote design, with housing pods clustered around one or more control rooms, where staff can operate the facility doors and observe inmat

Report Highlights Proposition 47 Progress

The Stanford Law School Stanford Justice Advocacy Project recently released the Proposition 47 Progress Report highlighting the progress made since the proposition’s enactment in November 2014.

FuelCell to Help Power Santa Rita Jail

A 1.4-megawatt fuel cell plant will soon provide the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with both heat and power. The facility recently signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with FuelCell Energy — a Danbury, Conn.-based designer, manufacturer, operator and servicer of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants — which includes commissioning the new fuel cell plant in late 2016.

Alameda County’s New Courthouse to Open in 2017

By Jessie Fetterling
A topping out ceremony was held on Sept. 18 for the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin. The ceremony marked 40 percent completion for the building, which broke ground in September 2014 and is on pace to open in early 2017.

Audit Finds NDPS Built Oversized, Overpriced Jails

A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audit reported released in late September that the Navajo Nation in Window Rock spent $30 million more than necessary to build two oversized jails.

Prison in Washington State is Latest to Institute “Blue Room”

Washington Corrections Center in Shelton will soon be the second correctional facility in the country to use a low-tech, but quite effective, method of promoting more peaceful prisons. In addition to offering a variety of education, vocational and sustainability programs, the 1,268-bed male facility will now offer its own version of “The Blue Room,” which first made headlines when it was instituted by Snake River Correctional Institution in Malheur County, Ore.

Utah to Build New State Prison

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution in August to move the Utah State Prison from Draper to a site west of Salt Lake City International Airport.

Sonoma County Advances in Building Behavioral Health Facility

Sonoma County supervisors approved construction of a $49 million behavioral health facility in Santa Rosa to house the increasing number of inmates suffering from mental illness.

Plumas County to Submit Grant Application

Similar to Santa Clara and Colusa counties, Plumas County will submit a grant application for $20 million in California funding for a new jail.

Utah Lawmakers Select New State Prison Site

Utah lawmakers on Aug. 19 officially selected a new location for the Utah State Prison. The state’s House and Senate confirmed that the new facility will be built on a site near Interstate 80 just west of the Salt Lake City International Airport by 62-12 and 21-7 votes respectively. Gov. Gary Herbert has also signed off on the plan, which will unfold over the next several years as the state proceeds with purchasing the site and completing the design process.