An amended budget bill is set to go before the governor that would lower the amount that local governments have to pony up in order to tap into state jail-construction money. Originally, under the terms of AB 94, counties would have had to shell out 25 percent of a jail’s costs, but now jail financing can be arranged at 10 percent of the overall cost. The ease in financing is to ensure that local governments can take on extra prisoners as part of the governor’s realignment plans, which will send some state offenders to local facilities. Each county will be capped at accessing $100 million. It is expected that around 40,000 state inmates will be shifted to the control of local governments, and jail financing is sure to be vital for providing extra capacity when one takes into account that many prisons are already overcrowded. The Press Enterprise reports the following on the funding:
“The money is part of $1.2 billion in jail financing the Legislature approved in 2007. It would help build new county jail beds as the governor seeks to shift several state responsibilities to counties, including oversight of some lower-level convicts and parolees. Supporters say counties need more money to handle so many new inmates but are struggling to come up with the matching money as their economic fortunes have fallen amid the recession. Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Sherman Oaks, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, called the legislation a technical clean-up bill. About half the funding from the 2007 bill, AB900, has been awarded to 11 counties that agreed to match a quarter of the cost. Those counties cannot reapply for the 10 percent rate if they have spent any of the money.”
San Bernardino County is one of the counties that originally applied to receive $83 million in funding from the 2007 bill. However, officials in San Bernardino are upset that the newest bill won't refund the county the difference between a 25 percent match and a 10 percent match, which amounts to about $16 million. Read more here.