Sheriff’s Department Looking Into Modernizing Vista Jail

Prison cell
Photo credit: wpr.org

A study looking to modernize the Vista Detention Facility has been approved unanimously by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.

The study would assess whether renovations or new construction could be the best path forward, sheriff’s officials said.

“It will also evaluate current standards and look at ways to improve jail operations,” a sheriff’s news release stated. “The goal is to serve the long-term needs of the incarcerated by enhancing healthcare services, substance use disorder recovery services and reentry programs to help break the cycle of crime.”

Sheriff Kelly Martinez provided a presentation on the state of County Detention Facilities before the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The board unanimously approved adding resources to enhance a study. The approval will also allow the Sheriff’s Department to seek consulting services to identify potential revenue measures to support the recommendations of the study once they are identified.

The ongoing study would also evaluate current standards and look at ways to improve jail operations. The goal is to serve the long-term needs of the incarcerated by enhancing health care services, substance use disorder recovery services and reentry programs to help break the cycle of crime.

The Vista facility, built in 1970, is the only jail serving partner law enforcement agencies in the North County for arrests and booking.

With constant occupancy and use, detention facilities typically exceed their useful service life after thirty years and are due for a major renovation or replacement.

A more comprehensive study is expected to do the following:

— Evaluate the existing condition of the building or infrastructure;

— Identity facility capacities and services;

— Assess what is required of a modern facility that focuses more on a supportive and rehabilitative environment;

— Provide a timeline, cost and funding sources for implementing plans to either renovate or build a new jail.

“This study is about our fundamental commitment to safety,” Martinez said. “By investing in a modern jail facility, we can provide state-of-the- art medical and mental health services to the people in our care. It will also significantly improve the working conditions of our dedicated employees. A safer and more efficient environment will ultimately result in better rehabilitation opportunities for the incarcerated and improve public safety.”

City News Service