The funding for the jail would come from Senate Bill 863 (the Adult Local Criminal Justice Facilities Construction program), which makes annual disbursals available to counties for capital improvements to help manage jail populations. In June, the state asked for requests for proposals for awards up to $500 million in state lease-revenue bond financing for jail acquisition or construction. Plumas County plans to be one of five small counties (under 200,000 in population) that would each receive a $20 million award.
The new jail would be located near the current jail in either the road department’s sand house or the former armory building. The 31,500-square-foot structure would house 66 inmates. Originally built as a short-term holding facility, the facility is more than 45 years old and was last renovated in the 1990s. As one of the few remaining linear jails in the state, the new jail would also be designed to feature a completely different layout that helps with inmate safety.
The Plumas County Civil Grand Jury inspected the jail last September, looking at the specific needs of the jail. The grand jury observed insufficiencies in the jail’s physical plant and determined that the county needed a new jail because no amount of repair could bring the facility into compliance with state standards, according to the California Grand Jurors’ Association. Nine previous grand juries found similar results after inspecting the jail facility.
On Jan. 6, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to authorize a contract with Carter Goble Lee Cos. to prepare and submit a grant application to the state. If the grant is not awarded to Plumas County, the county would still have to renovate the existing facility and bring the facility into compliance with state regulations and the Americans with Disabilities Act. If the grant is awarded, it could still be three to four years before construction is completed.