Tulare County accepts $60m for Porterville jail

The new Tulare County Jail in Porterville will be under construction by May 2016.The new Tulare County Jail in Porterville will be under construction by May 2016.Tulare County supervisors voted Tuesday to accept a $60 million state grant to pay for nearly all the cost of building a jail in the Porterville area.

The Visalia Times-Delta reported that the money would come from a state fund for reducing prison population by sending inmates to county jails.  In addition to Tulare, 10 other counties will be able to build new jails or expand existing ones with money from the state fund.

The county will have to begin construction by May 2016, but no plans have been drawn up yet and a location hasn’t been agreed on other than the jail will be in the Porterville area.

The total price is expected to be $66 million, and the remaining 10 percent - $6 million – will be set aside over the next few years from the county’s capital projects and general funds, said Kristin Bennett, assistant chief administrative officer for the County. The Sheriff’s Department will have a smaller budget as well.

Bennett said that county officials are discussing possible jail sites with current property owners. The county currently operates two jails; one in Visalia next to the County Civic Center and the Bob Wiley Detention Facility 10 miles to the north.