Smith Correctional Facility to Expand Inmate Medical Care

BANNING, Calif. — The Riverside County, Calif., Board of Commissioners approved Phase I work for a new $7.52 million, 7,380-square-foot clinic project at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. The project will allow the facility to expand secure, on-site medical services with four new holding cells for inmates with general medical needs as well as eight cells dedicated to inmates requiring mental treatment. Five exam rooms and one tele-medicine room will be built alongside a new administrative area and nurses’ station.

“This is a big investment for a very important facility,” Supervisor Marion Ashley told local news source The Banning Patch. “This will allow us to move the care to the folks there, instead of moving them to the care somewhere else.”

The project comes after the county was involved in a class-action lawsuit brought by the Prisoner Law Office of Berkeley, Calif., on behalf of former inmates. The inmates alleged that they experienced inadequate mental and physical health care treatment, and the lawsuit resulted in a consent decree and a settlement. The county will now invest over the next several years in working toward compliance.

In a joint submittal to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors from the county’s Economic Development Agency (EDA) and Sheriff’s Department, the two entities stated that the new clinic space “will improve the frequency and quality of medical and mental health treatment provided to inmates.” In addition, the statement projected that the project will provide cost savings to the county by reducing the current need to transport inmates to outlying county care facilities for health care services. All costs will be 100 percent funded by existing bond funds.

Progress on the project began in June 2016 when supervisors gave their initial approval of the project budget. In November 2016, DLR Group Inc. of Riverside was contracted to provide architectural and engineering services, and Tilden Coil Constructors Inc., also of Riverside, was added to the project team to serve as construction manager.

To expedite work, the project team — composed of the EDA, Sheriff, DLR and Tilden Coil — recommended developing construction documents in two phases, according to the submittal. Phase I will over-excavate the building pad and bring site utilities adjacent to the building pad. Phase II will provide plans and specifications from foundations to final building finishes. DLR has already completed the plans and specifications for Phase I and Tilden Coil has prepared the scope of work for each trade for the Phase I work.