South Placer jail to cook for a crowd – 12,000 meals a day

Jail expansion could be in works as county asked to seek more state funding
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The smell of cinnamon buns and chocolate chip cookies wafted over the din of construction Wednesday as the $98 million South Placer Adult Correctional Facility continued to move toward a July 2013 opening. While construction workers labored throughout the new 300,000 square-foot facility – about the floor space of two Wal-Mart buildings – cooking staff was testing the ovens and preparing for a potentially huge increase in food preparation work. Placer County Sheriff’s Capt. George Malim said during a tour of the partially completed jail building Wednesday that while the new facility would reach capacity at 980 inmates and the current Placer County Jail in North Auburn holds 486 more, the new Roseville kitchen will have the capacity to produce 12,000 meals a day. Theoretically, there would be 4,000 meals a day for inmates and staff – and another 8,000 that the jail kitchen could prepare and then sell to other jurisdictions. That would bring down costs through a higher economy of scale and allow the county to save money with bulk purchases. Designed by HDR Architects and being built by Roseville contractor McCarthy Building Companies, the new correctional facility is the largest public building effort in Placer’s history, Malim said. The kitchen area reflects that, with three-300 gallon cooking kettles providing plenty of room to prepare everything from soup to pasta. The kitchen is set up to move large batches of food into large plastic bags onto an assembly-line that first quick chills the warm dishes then blast-chills them. The menu will be extensive, ranging from those sweet-smelling cinnamon rolls to roasts, chicken and pizzas. But even a kitchen ready to feed as many as 4,000 people a day has its limits. “There will be no barbecue,” Malim said. The current kitchen is located in North Auburn and provides meals that can be heated quickly. “We know there is interest out there (for providing the meals to other jurisdictions) but we just can’t supply it now,” Malim said. With a new population of non-violent state prison inmates being moved into county jails, it will mean more supervision of inmate workers in the kitchen, Malim added. “For the first time, we’ll hire a correctional officer to supervise in the kitchen,” he said. “We’ll need to have one officer here 16 hours a day.” In all, the jail in South Placer will create 100 new staff and correctional jobs. Lt. Dennis Walsh said that the inmates who have been in state prison or are being jailed on parole violations have different supervision needs but they’re not necessarily unfamiliar faces to the local jail system. “They’re the same people we’ve always dealt with,” Walsh said. The old jail in Auburn, built in the early 1980s, is already adding inmates who new state measures require incarceration in a county jail. Malim said 40 inmates have been brought in over the past two months with sentences of up to 5 years. Another 32 are in jail on parole violations and are serving terms of up to 18 months, he said. ----------------------------------------------- Placer sheriff eyes even more South Placer jail expansion While work continues on construction of the South Placer Adult Correctional Facility ahead of its opening in 2013, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office is moving on plans to build even more. Capt. George Malim, who heads operations at the Placer County Jail in North Auburn, said the Board of Supervisors will hear Tuesday about a new plan that would use $12 million to $15 million in state jail construction funding that is now available to expand the new jail’s minimum-security wing. The first phase of the Roseville facility now being built will cost $98 million and provide room for 390 inmates. Funding is coming from developer fees collected for future county facilities to keep up with growth demands. That figure includes 120 who would be housed in a minimum-security building. Malim said the Sheriff’s Office is hoping to partner with county officials to seek $15 million in funding for a further 180 beds. That would allow women prisoners now housed in minimum-security quarters at North Auburn’s Placer County Government Center to be transferred to the South Placer facility, Malim said. “There is no female housing built into the first phase,” Malim said. The state grant would provide funding for more beds and female quarters but also allow construction of what is being termed a programming building. That would assist with providing high school and higher-education courses as well as drug and alcohol counseling onsite, Malim said. Malim said the county would provide a 10 percent match and have to agree to provide the extra staffing and operational expenditures. The application is due with the state by Jan. 11. Funding issues – particularly over new state standards under AB 109 that are bringing more prisoners into county jails who otherwise would have been held in state prisons – are still not completely resolved as the county moves toward the new jail opening. “When we were in the planning stages, AB 109 didn’t exist,” Malim said. Startup costs, including buying basics like mattresses, for the new jail still have to be resolved. A total of $3.3 million is being held in county reserves and Malim said it’s anticipated that $5 million to $6 million in county funding should be enough to provide the furnishings and equipment to open the jail before the anticipated July 2013 opening. The shift in prisoners from the state to the counties means transferring 33,000 low-level state prisoners to county jails over the next two years. According to the county’s Principal Management Analyst Bekki Riggan the funding gap could be as high as $47.1 million if the county jail can’t hold its share of prisoners or as low as $1.7 million. Wally Reemelin, president of the League of Placer County Taxpayers, said that with crime not noticeably on the increase in the county, officials should ask some hard questions on whether the expenditure of government money is necessary or not. “Just building more because they can get the money for it is not reason,” Reemelin said. “The need is what you look for.”