The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to accept a $100 million state grant that would help fund construction of a new jail at the existing Lerdo pre-trial facility. As a condition of the grant, the county also committed over $22 million in matching funds to support construction of the facility, which will house around 800 mostly medium security inmates.
The county had previously been awarded a similar grant in 2008, but had to reject the funding because it was unable to allocate the matching funds required the state.
According to Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, the county will need to house as many as 4,500 inmates by the year 2020. That means it will need an additional 1,660 beds. Youngblood says the state's realignment program, which shifts low level offenders from state prisons to county jails has made the need even greater.