Santa Clara County Weighs Plans for New $280 Million Jail

Replacing San Jose’s Main Jail will cost something on the order of $280 million and, from the groundbreaking, take about 30 months to complete.

On Tuesday, Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors will discuss plans to build a new jail offset by $80 million in state funding.

The new building would sit right next to the existing three-story jail off of Hedding Street. It would consist of a 325,000-square-foot building with five housing floors and 815 medium-to-high-security risk beds, according to the county.

A new facility would address the changing needs of the incarcerated population, which includes more mentally ill inmates as well as those serving more time in local jails because of statewide prison reform.

The jail would include a re-entry services center for men and women on the last leg of their sentence who need help getting on their feet upon release.

It would also include more space dedicated for inmates diagnosed with serious psychiatric disorders and addictions. As of last spring, the county housed about 450 inmates with serious mental health issues and nearly 1,600 with behavioral health diagnoses.

“Long term treatment of these conditions in a proper setting may reduce recidivism as patients learn to cope with their conditions once out of custody,” the county noted in a report.

Under the proposal, the new jail would dedicate more space for inmate classes and other programming.

The county also identified needs for more medical space, including dental, ophthalmology and optometry, physical therapy and surgical clinics. Currently, inmates wait up to two months for urgent dental treatment because of a lack of space. And inmates get treated for eye diseases but not routine eye care.

An influx of inmates with physical disabilities means the county will also have to expand physical therapy services. Additionally, providing space for surgeries at the new jail would save money by limiting transportation to and from Valley Medical Center.

More from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agenda for February 23, 2016:

  • Sourcewise, a nonprofit that manages federal funding for the elderly, has been taking money from its senior nutrition programs and spending it on other services. That leaves the county to “foot the bill,” according to staffers. On Tuesday, supervisors will vote on paying that bill, some $116,490 of reserve cash.

WHAT: Board of Supervisors meets
WHEN: 9am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Clerk of the Board, 408.299.5001

Jennifer Wadsworth is the News Editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

6 Comments

  1. Yea , and they’ll pay for it with the San Jose Redevelopment Agency embezzled $300,000,000 for Baseball Stadiums where no one is going to play and will never be built on triple flipped parcels with taxpayer millions..

  2. They won’t be able to pay for it after they finish paying all the lawsuits Sheriff Smith has brought to the tax payers by running the jails like it was a rerun of the Stanford prison experiment.

  3. “The county also identified needs for more medical space, including dental, ophthalmology and optometry, physical therapy and surgical clinics. Currently, inmates wait up to two months for urgent dental treatment because of a lack of space. And inmates get treated for eye diseases but not routine eye care.” Sounds more like a VMC Clinic than a jail that will be staffed by doctors and dentists instead of guards. Will the County use Turner Construction to build it?
    Hey, are you a Santa Clara County crackhead who needs extensive dental work? Get yourself busted on a minor possession charge, plead guilty, and get a whole set of new teeth courtesy of SC County taxpayers. Need glasses, the SC County Board of Supervisors will provide them for you, no charge to you, because it’s funded by working people of the county. Depressed, need some counseling and Prozac, we got that too, or Zoloft if you prefer. Get busted up on the street? Hey, we have physical therapy for you along with some Oxy. Hey, Board of Stupes—it’s jail, stupid, not a clinic or a spa.

    • But come on John.. These people have to be treated with some dignity right?! Hahaha..

      Many of these same people cry out about “deplorable conditions” yet they have no qualms about the crimes they commit. Most of them would not hesitate to steal anything and everything they could get their hands on.. Plenty would quickly put a gun in your face to get what they want, and some would rip a purse from your Grandmother’s clutch and leave her lying on the floor with no regard..

      If anything, the construction of a new jail should be focused around creating an environment where the Correctional Deputies are safer and have more protections against frivolous allegations. This type of modern technology & architecture would be symbiotic because it contributes to safer conditions for inmates through increased automation and less need supervision and direct contact. Jail isn’t supposed to be a treat where the “guests” satisfaction is met.. It’s counter productive for the jail to be focused upon making an inmates stay more comfortable.

      Why should we as taxpayers foot the bill for mending the predatory members of our society? So they can survive longer and prey on innocent people more effectively? I think not…