CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Construction broke ground last month on an expansion to the Chesapeake Correctional Center. Located adjacent to the existing facility in Chesapeake, the 47,282-square-foot building will house 192 inmates and offer space for community programs. It was designed by Moseley Architects, with office locations throughout Virginia.
The $29 million expansion is being built as a permanent answer to the current facility’s overcrowding issues, according to The Virginian-Pilot. In 2013, the state’s Board of Corrections approved the use of three temporary buildings to address overcrowding, but that five-year permit will expire in March 2018.
The expansion will increase the current jail’s capacity from 555 to 747 inmates. For years, the current facility, however, held more than 1,000 inmates until Chesapeake decided to house 250 of its inmates at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority in 2014. The Chesapeake Correctional Center still currently houses about 970, reported The Virginian-Pilot.
As part of the plan, the expansion and current facility will share resources to cut costs, reported The Virginian-Pilot. The current facility will serve as the medium-security facility, while the Hampton Roads Regional Jail will house maximum-security inmates.
To balance out the other facilities, the new expansion will house minimum-security males as well as those who work outside the jail, either through a work-release program or on an inmate work crew. The facility will also include the jail’s re-entry program as well as GED and educational programs, and it will have two classrooms designated for training and workshops. Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan told The Virginian-Pilot that the new facility will not only help inmates become more successful upon re-entry into the community, but keeping working inmates separate from the rest of the jail population will also reduce the risk of contraband.
The project also includes the construction of a 10,532-square-foot maintenance building to house about 20 trailers and equipment used by inmate workers. This will help streamline the program as well as allow inmates to log more working hours as they maintain and keep track of the equipment on site instead of traveling to and from the city garage where the equipment is currently housed.
Construction is currently scheduled for completion in February of 2018. If the project isn’t completed by the time the five-year permit for the three temporary facilities expires, then inmates currently living there will have to be transferred to the main jail facility until the construction is complete, reported The Virginian-Pilot. A decision has yet to be made about what will happen to the temporary buildings, which were created to be disassembled and rebuilt elsewhere. However, O’Sullivan requested that one be kept for storage behind the jail.
The state will cover 25 percent of the project’s $29 million price tag, while the rest will be paid through general obligation bonds from the city, according to The Virginian-Pilot.