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Contract Signed for Las Colinas Expansion

A contract is inked between the County and a major developer that will end in a detention facility three times bigger near Santee's Town Center.

A contract was signed on Thursday between the County of San Diego and Barnhart Balfour Beatty for the $221.5 million, of the in Santee.

The 478,000-square-foot project near has been by the City of Santee and its residents. The site is near the city's major shopping complex, and other community areas and city officials hoped it would be .

Expected to be completed in late 2015, the new facility will replace the cramped, dilapidated conditions in the current jail, which County officials have said operates at 150 percent of capacity. The new one will be three times bigger, offering more than 1,200 beds.

City News Service contributed to this report.

bme September 17, 2011 at 07:36 AM
Very well said. :(
Earlene September 17, 2011 at 07:41 AM
No one is instigating "mass hysteria." We're all discussing this problem which we all must now deal with insofar as our homes, safety of our children, etc. are concerned. The only person using the word is one person who likes referring to it in every blog in which he predictably disagrees. All county supervisors who voted in favor of the extension live in other areas and most likely didn't want this facility in their backyard The country already owned the land, and were so thoughtful in "saving" us money so we could house more criminals---whoopie! This was pretty much cut and dried and only went through the steps with no regard for the citizens of Santee. What the heck, we're only the taxpayers, eh?
Earlene September 17, 2011 at 07:52 AM
Here's a post I made 8/28/09 on the "Santee Jail Expansion," which explains a little more about the agreement made by our illlustrous Mayor and the County: "We've lived in Santee over 35 yrs. I was under the impression that the Women's Detention Ctr. was temporary; however, Dianne Jacob informed me that years ago the City's Mayor traded that status to permanent in exchange for the County's offer to give the City some acerage in or around the new Mall; seems to me it was a very small parcel. Having a large women's jail in the middle of any city is stupid, no matter how you look at it. Everyone I talk to is vehemently against any expansion, period!"
Kathy September 17, 2011 at 07:57 AM
Doug, enough with your rudeness! In case you have not been able to read All of these posts, it is clear that the majority is are upset and fault the County, Our City Council and Mayor. I have been told from a VERY reliable source, that within 6 months of completion of the expansion, the county will be feeding man into Las Colinas Facilty. Now Doug, before you get on your high horse, I am NOT going to debate this information. Let's just say, that after 8 months of Las Colinas Expansion is completed, you promise to make a public apology. Steve, I will be happy to share the source with you. Maybe we have lost the initial battle of the Las Colinas Expansion but do we turn our heads? NO! We need to put pressure on the County and how they are willing to waste money on Criminals, instead of education and affordable housing. You can't tell me that 1/4 of a Billion Dollars cannot be better spent. Is San Diego, especially Female crimes up that much, that they need to expand Las Colinas another 45 ACRES. Of course not, they need the room to house Females and Males, that's the real reason.
Earlene September 17, 2011 at 07:58 AM
Then you saw my comments; I also wrote a letter to Supervisor Dianne Jacobs, which she answered and explained she was NOT in favor of this expansion. I also wrote THE TRIBUNE expressing my disapproval and concern. Thanks for digging up the link, BME.
Kathy September 17, 2011 at 08:00 AM
Here is a part of an article written in July 2009, it about says it all: (I will have to break it up into 2 postings due to the limit of characters) "There are more than 800 County-owned sites, several of which would be better suited for the expansion of Las Colinas. Santee questions why the County has consciously ignored these other locations, including a 1,210-bed jail facility it has been leasing to a private detention firm in East Otay Mesa, which reverts back to County ownership in a few years and would be an ideal replacement facility for Las Colinas. If the County of San Diego were to sell the land on which Las Colinas sits, as well as the land designated for the expansion, the taxpayers of San Diego County could get $89 million - making this one of the County’s most valuable land holdings. The City believes that land should be sold by the County and the money put to ward a new jail or other needed services. If sold to developers, the result could be construction of much-needed affordable housing and jobs. Santee further questions the County’s claims that Las Colinas is similar in size and shape to other regional jail facilities throughout the County. The proposed expansion by the County of San Diego triples the size of the current jail, making it the largest facility in the county, and increases the number of beds to 1,216."
Kathy September 17, 2011 at 08:01 AM
Continuation of article: "The expanded jail would also include guard towers, barbed wire fencing and barracks much like the farm-type prisons found in rural settings. Santee also challenges the County’s claims when describing the increase in beds from the existing facility to the proposed facility. It has been stated that the jail will grow from 810 beds to 1,216 beds, when it will actually triple in CSA-rated beds from 404 to 1,216. In fact, the proposed 1,216-bed CSA-rated facility will be the second largest jail facility in the region, and could eventually house over 2,000 inmates. Many of the inmates housed at Las Colinas are charged with serious felonies such as murder, elder and child abuse, drug dealing and more. Currently over 13,000 female offenders are processed through Las Colinas each year and the expansion would at least double that number."
Kathy September 17, 2011 at 08:10 AM
What would of Rudy Reyes done differently? Dianne was out numbered, 4 to 1 and was 100% AGAINST expansion of Las Colinas.
safesantee September 17, 2011 at 09:02 AM
Its unfortunate but its the most true thing I've heard all week.
Jay'me Golden September 17, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Boy, Kathy, I am so understanding what you are saying! Obvisously, there are people here who dont follow the news as in breakouts from the jail...etc. The people who will be imprisoned here arent exactly from the best of families or lifestyles and so the element of people drawn to this area for visitation amd or hanging out for unknown reasons will be an element of people you dont want hanging around your homes or children. It will be the homes around the prison with high fences with razor wire on them. This IS NOT fear mongering as one person said previously...this is the reality of putting a PRISON in the very middle of a family community! Ive talked to my nephew who has been a prison guard for many years for a California facility and hes shocked they are doing this. Breakouts and violence happen all the time. More than anyone would want to believe. It all comes down to staffing or lack there of due to budget cuts (just like how they are going to start releasing prisoners soon due to those same budget cuts) and of course, lets consider how financially, how is this facility going to be maintained when they cant afford to maintain the prisons already in existance. My nephew said the prison he works at has all kinds of lack of maintence issues without any funds to fix them, that and being understaffed makes his job three times more difficult and dangerous!!!
Christal Ferris September 17, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Isn't this a jail and not a prison?
Kathy September 17, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Thank you Jay'me, I know we are not alone on this feeling.
Peggy September 17, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I think I'm going to throw up. This ugly facility will be the view from my front window. I'm a 60 year old senior and my mother who also lives here is 85. I will live in fear daily of what might happen. I've already seen the women waiting for buses , trolley , etc. as they are released. We are unable to sell & move because we are in a residence full of homes already not selling. Who in their right mind would want their elderly mother to buy a home here now. I keep reading of all the leaders who voted against this and all the residents who rebelled against this. There were obvious better places to choose to build a home for these crimminals. So what is being said is that we are all thought of as people without a vote and not worthy of being heard. Instead they have made it better for the crimminals with a more comfortable home and easy access to commit more crimes and with a choice of many hiding places and many ways to travel.
Earlene September 17, 2011 at 07:36 PM
You are incorrect in telling people that men have NEVER been incarcerated at this location, I know because I lived here then.....you didn't. The "jail," which it was called then, was used as overflow for male inmates. My husband and I often drove by and would see the male inmates, in jail uniforms, playing basketball on the asphalt. One of our grown children lived on Mission Gorge Rd. and could also see male prisoners from their apt. playing outside on what appeared to be a basketball court. At that time the citizens were quite upset about having jail inmates in our city; however, we were told it was only due to overcrowding and would be temporary. That was in the early 70's; Las Colinas became a womens only facility 12 yrs. later in 1979, after men were first housed there. Your facts are incorrect and makes your last paragraph above laughable.
Earlene September 17, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Difference between a jail and prison: Think short-term and long-term. Jails are most often run by sheriffs and/or local governments and are designed to hold individuals awaiting trial or a serving short sentences. Prisons are operated by state governments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and are designed to hold individuals convicted of crimes. Jails operate work release programs, boot camps, and other specialized services. I'm only assumming the name will still be Las Colinas Womens' Detention Facility with the new extension, which implication means its more of a jail than a prison for those awaiting trial and/or serving short sentences of one yr. or less.
mamacita September 17, 2011 at 08:02 PM
In a previous post someone said it would now house men as well. That's the only place I heard it.
Jay'me Golden September 17, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Well, Crystal...not much of a difference when its stuck in the middle of town with children, schools, young families moving to Santee, thinking its a safe place to raise kids...now, with this expansion that the county pushed down all the town peoples throats....it wont be safe after its finished being built....HAPPY now...with your comments, it doesnt seem to be a big deal to you!!
mamacita September 17, 2011 at 08:52 PM
It makes me sad that just over a week ago we were all outside in darkness embracing our neighbors. We were inviting others to join us in the black out and enjoying candle light, moonlight, BBQ's and visiting. Now it feels we are at each others throats over something that seems to be out of our control. I pray that this expansion won't divide a wonderful community beyond repair. We each have a right to our feelings about the jail but I don't think we have a right to berate others for their thoughts or feelings. I will continue watch the developement of this project but I won't continue to read the berating of each other here. God Bless us all.
Earlene September 17, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Mamacita, at this point you cannot believe everything said by any public official. Completion of this extension may, at some future date, include both male and female inmates as no one knows what the future will bring when it comes to incarcerating individuals.
Bryceson Cabading September 17, 2011 at 10:31 PM
I'm not trying to sound sexist....but I am much more comfortable with the expansion being that of a female jail rather than a male one.
Kathy September 17, 2011 at 11:58 PM
A criminal is a criminal, a murderer is a murderer, it doesn't matter what the sex is.
Kathy September 18, 2011 at 12:06 AM
The County spent 1/4 of a Billion dollars just for the land. Can you imagine how much Tax Payers money will be spent building it? What is it with our Government that loves to waste Tax Payers Money on matters that will not benefit our economy. No wonder our Economy is in the toilet. In case you might think it will open employment opportunities, don't. The other Jails and Prisons are having severe cut backs, so most of the employees that would be laid off, will be transferred to Las Colinas, when the expansion is completed.
Earlene September 18, 2011 at 12:17 AM
People with authority sometimes become too comfortable in their positions and after time passes, they can no longer relate to the common working men and women of America. Ever hear the old saying, "he/she has no common sense?" That's why we need term limits. Our forefathers never intended for anyone to make these types of jobs a career, some lasting as long as 40 yrs. or more. If you're elected, serve your term, then step aside and allow another to serve who might have some new ideas and suggestions.
Jay'me Golden September 18, 2011 at 03:43 AM
I agree again with you Kathy...
shirley September 18, 2011 at 05:02 AM
I will Rudy, I wish you had made it on our city council.
Earlene September 18, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Why????????????
bme September 21, 2011 at 12:13 AM
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/03/business/la-fi-0503-prisons-20100503 "Prisons do not provide the kind of economic stimulus that so many towns thought they were going to get when they agreed to have one," she said. "I'm not going to pretend a job isn't a job, but another development path would have produced a more robust set of jobs." What's more, real estate values typically decline near prisons because people don't want to live near them, said Terry Besser, a professor at Iowa State. Her research found that unemployment rose 16% between 1990 and 2000 in towns with new state prisons but fell 5% in towns without. Retail sales grew 84% in the same time period in towns with the new prisons, she found, but they grew 128% in those without. Small towns want prisons because "they're struggling and they think this is a home run," Besser said. "But when prisons locate there, the unemployment rate goes up, the percentage of people in poverty goes up, and the average wages go down across the board."
SanteeCitizen September 23, 2011 at 03:58 AM
So we think this prison will help Santee? Here is some interesting info on this: Prison Town, USA http://www.pbs.org/pov/prisontown/film_description.php LA Times Article: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/03/business/la-fi-0503-prisons-20100503 Prison Economics in Rural America: http://ppjr.org/prison/files/tracy%20huling%20prisons%20economy%20study.pdf
SanteeCitizen September 23, 2011 at 05:04 AM
Pulled up this old article from 1988! http://articles.latimes.com/1988-03-18/local/me-1552_1_temporary-jail Even back then Santee was fighting, and at the time, the County of San Diego and the Board of Supervisors was trying to build a men's temporary jail here in Santee. From 1988, "The county is rushing to a preconceived conclusion without compliance with the law," the lawsuit said. "The Santee 'interim' jail is just one more chapter in a sorry story of inept and incompetent government. The people of Santee, apparently because they are viewed as politically impotent, are to be the next victims of the never ending 'jail story.' " I wouldn't be suprised if they are contemplating "Eminent Domain" in the future to build a men's jail next to the current, to be, expanded one, or leave open the ability to convert the expanded facility into a men and women jail.
Madeline Harpe April 07, 2012 at 10:36 PM
They are locked up and not going anywhere! What on Earth do you have to protect yourself against? Other than a sign with the facilities name, you wouldn't even know that it is there visibly.

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