CoCo Supes to award a $95.5 million contract to re-design jail

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(CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif.) The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will decide later this week whether to award a $95.5 million contract to Sletten Construction, a Montana-based company, to expand the West County Detention Facility in North Richmond.

The new construction would have updated facilities and ease over-crowding in the Martinez Detention Facility (MDF), which has been stretched well beyond its planned capacity even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new West County Reentry, Treatment and Housing would include five secure housing units, a medical treatment center, a reentry program and a new visitation center.

A majority of the funding for the project comes from a state allotment of $70 million stemming from Senate Bill 844. An additional $25.5 million will come from the county's general fund.

The total price tag, including consulting, equipment and contingency costs is roughly $126.5 million.

Of the three detention facilities in Contra Costa County, only MDF is equipped to house high-security inmates.

As the county's approach to incarceration has shifted, officials have looked for ways to offer more therapeutic rehabilitation. That, in conjunction with the state reassigning long-term incarceration responsibilities to local governments and increased mental health issues among the incarcerated population, drove the county to develop this new detention facility.

The county agreed to expand its mental health service after a 2020 lawsuit with the Prison Law Office following the death of multiple inmates with medical conditions.

The current project calls for 288 high-security beds, 96 of which are designed to house inmates with mental health issues, and family reentry spaces included in the first proposal.

Additionally, there will be a classroom, a detox center, a day room and large program rooms. The medical facility will include dental and optometry offices and vocational training spaces.

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