New facility may be built for parolees

February 26, 2008 7:08:12 AM PST
A new state law requires that Contra Costa County build a new facility to help get ex-prisoners back into society.

It would provide services such as job training, and counseling. The biggest question: where to build it.

"One of the real problems that we've seen in recent years is that approximately 70-percent of inmates that leave state prison end up coming back within three years," said Seth Unger from the California Department of Corrections.

State Corrections Officials say the current system isn't working, they want to build more re-entry facilities.

Counties that agree to accept the re-entry facility would get funding priority for jail construction. Contra Costa County needs more maximum security jail space, so it's nibbling at the carrot.

"But certainly we should not be chasing a dollar in order to make that happen," said Contra Costa County supervisor Federal Glover.

Contra Costa County supervisor, Federal Glover says there's not enough information on the impact of this re-entry facility. He's not supporting it.

"We're talking about the possibility of 500 beds. This is a prison. This is not a re-entry facility. This is a prison, basically," said Glover.

But the county has identified five possible sites including one on Deer Valley Rd. between Antioch and Brentwood.

That one, says Antioch School Board President Walter Ruehlig, is too close to a new magnet school.

"It's a state of the art innovative school and that would make a heck of an advertisement. Come visit out medical magnet school and while you're there, drop by our friendly prison. It's just the wrong place," said Antioch School Board President Walter Ruehlig.

That kind of feedback has been the overwhelming response according to the supervisors we spoke to. But the state says these parolees will still be returned to the county of their residence.

"Currently, an inmate that comes out of state prison is more or less dropped off at a bus station with $200 minus the cost of their ticket," said

The board of supervisors is expecting a full house at Tuesday night's meeting.

Eighteen other counties are expressing interest in the re-entry facility, including San Francisco, Solano and Stanislaus counties.