County officials have confirmed they will be seeking upward of $80 million in state funding in order to allow them to upgrade the Riverside County Jail.
Riverside Jails were granted nearly $100 million in 2012 which has been earmarked to fund an expansion. A spokesperson has said both projects are needed due to the ever-growing local inmate population. That number has grown drastically in the past 12 months due to the number of prisoners that are being sent to county facilities under the state’s prisoner realignment program. Local detention centers have received nearly 25% more detainees than the state had projected.
If the second grant is approved, those funds would be used to help provide additional programs for inmates. It will also help fund an expansion of the Banning Jail. Jail officials have not said how many beds they would like to add. They have, though, said they released 7,000 inmates last year in order to make space for people being shifted into the county as part of the realignment.
An additional 2,000 inmates have reportedly been released this year. All of those released were set free prior to their sentences being up. A sheriff’s department spokesperson said the state is allocating $500 million to counties to fund local jails. Those monies need to be applied for through a formal bidding process. The competition is expected to be fierce. It is unclear when the state will release those funds. The matter is ongoing.