The first phase of Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility is open. http://www.sdsheriff.net/detentionfacilities/lcdrf.html The process of getting this new jail has been long and full of challenges. San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency in February, 1986 due to “severe overcrowding in the adult detention system and directed county staff to immediately develop a plan to resolve the emergency situation.” In May, 1988 Santee filed a petition requesting “an immediate stay to stop the County from proceeding with the temporary expansion of Las Colinas pending the outcome of the appeal.” The California Supreme Court denied the request by Santee. In September, 2012 the first signs of a new jail under construction were visible. The field where rabbits and coyotes roamed was cleared and a fence added around the parameter. Heavy machinery arrived and it seemed like a lifetime of just moving dirt around in circles. Every time I had a bail bond to post at Las Colinas I would take pictures and Tweet them for my followers and those interested in seeing our tax dollars hard at work. I watched the construction from the back of the facility since the front of the facility faces Magnolia and a locked fence prevented anyone from viewing the front of the new jail.
Just a field with a fence around it where rabbits and coyotes roamed
September, 2012 early construction
3 classrooms under construction
Beautiful courtyard with palm trees
I had the opportunity to tour of the inside of the facility. The new facility has a new name. The word “womens'” has been dropped and the word “reentry” has been added. Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility with the new emphasis on rehabilitation versus incarceration. The most noticeable difference is the size of the “campus.” The Deputy giving the tour stated the facility will be on 45 acres of land and when Phase 2 is complete they can house up to 1,212 inmates. Phase 2 will begin after Phase 1 is up and running and the old Las Colinas is demolished. Phase 2 will house 384 inmates when complete. I heard the word rehabilitation several times during the tour and the need to help inmates take responsibility for themselves. The new facility will feature classrooms and a health center for inmates. In the “courtyard” area they have cement seating for concerts and movies for inmates. Special housing for inmates cooperating similar to the type of housing seen in “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix. The tour didn’t include the inmate housing area. The lobby is huge and plenty of windows for jail staff to help Bail Agents, Attorneys, family and friends that have business at the facility. We were shown an area for contact visits for inmates earning the privilege. The new holding area features “open booking” for inmates and a body scanner. Don’t even think about bringing drugs or weapons into this facility. The penalties for bringing in drugs and/or weapons to a correctional facility are severe and the body scanner will find them. For women willing to cooperate it will feel like sitting at the airport in a waiting area. Soft cushioned seats in rows without restraints. In the past women were handcuffed to benches while going thru the booking process or placed in jail cells or “tanks.” Jail staff will no longer touch the inmates money when they arrive. The responsibility is on the inmate to put their money into an ATM like machine. Upon release the money the inmate put in the machine will come out unless any purchases were made at the commissary. Inmates will stay in the Holding Area for about 3 hours while they’re being processed (fingerprints, mug shot, tested for TB, setting up their phone account so they can call out to family, friends or a bail bond agency to arrange for bail, etc). Inmates unwilling to cooperate during the process will have special jail cells where they can wait until they’ve been cleared to be housed or bailed out. I was very happy to see the phones in the Holding Area are on the wall in plain sight of jail staff and camera’s which is a vast improvement from the rest of the San Diego County Jails.
On August 4, 2014 the California Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced the opening of the new Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility and stated: “This reentry facility is yet another example of California’s commitment to rehabilitation and better preparing inmates for life after their release. The facility will house 82 inmates at its inception, with the possibility of expanding to a capacity of up to 118 in the future. Inmates selected for the program will have less than four years remaining on their sentences.” (in addition to our local inmates awaiting trial or doing local time)
My first impression of the new Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility was resort with confinement. The facility is absolutely beautiful. The new Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility is clean and painted white with a courtyard and palm trees. For anyone serving time at the old Las Colinas the new facility is a breath of fresh air.
451 Riverview Parkway Santee, CA 92071