The groundbreaking for a new jail in northern Santa Barbara County is said by law enforcement officials to be the start of a new era.
Officials say it’s going to be the largest public works project in the history of the county.
Many are calling this a historic groundbreaking that has been in the works for 20 years.
“I think it’s important because this changes the way we do corrections in Santa Barbara County says, Thomas L. Jenkins, a retired Commander with the Sheriff’s Department.
The new northern branch jail will be located along Black Road near Santa Maria, and hold up to a total of 376 beds.
The more than $100 million-dollar project will provide much needed inmate housing along with a medical and mental health program.
“It will also result in changed and revitalized lives, lower rates of crime and a safer Santa Barbara County,” says Bill Brown, with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Most of the funding for the jail is coming from the California Board of State and Community Corrections. The making of the jail is also expected to bring thousands of local jobs.
The northern branch jail is expected to be completed and ready for business in 2019.