Sheriff hopes to acquire funds for jail revamp


A potential pot of funds may make much-needed projects at the Lassen County Adult Detention Facility a reality, according to Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon.

During the Tuesday, Jan. 24 Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting, Growdon presented the board with information about Senate Bill 844, which could provide funding for criminal justice facilities, and asked the board to authorize the County Environmental Review Officer to file a notice of exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act. The request to file a notice of exemption was unanimously approved and the board directed staff to follow through with the application process.

According to Growdon, under SB 844, up to $270,000,000 in financing is conditionally available statewide, and small county projects could redeem as much as $25,000,000 with a 10 percent local matching fund that can be petitioned to be waived.

A request for proposals for the funds need to provide a facility needs assessment and evidence of California Environmental Quality Act compliance to be considered eligible.

“(The jail) wasn’t built to be a small prison, and that’s what we are right now … and we’re struggling with that,” said Growdon commenting on recent changes in the system, which keeps more people in county jails.

The supervisors offered the advice for Growdon to “Plow forward” in his plans to revamp the jail, according to the findings noted in the facility needs assessment.

Some of the identified areas of the assessment needing work in the local facility include the female housing unit, special needs housing unit, the work release facility, program space, the kitchen and food training space, the vocational skills training space and various facility system upgrades, like the heating and cooling system.

In the housing units, Growdon mentioned the “less than optimal” conditions in female housing units, and noted while there are ADA cells, there are no medical beds or mental health beds.

For the work release program, he discussed some conflict between those in the program and others who try and get them to bring in contraband. He suggested having a segregated housing area for those on work release with a separate processing area.

The kitchen area, Growdon said, just can’t be repaired. He showed potential plans of relocating and constructing a kitchen from an existing location.

The sheriff hopes to bring back the final request for proposal to try and acquire the available funds to the board in mid February. County proposals are due by Feb. 28.