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New Monterey County jail expansion facing delays

MOCO JAIL DELAY
KION
New Monterey County jail expansion facing delays

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Utility issues are to blame for a delay in the opening of the new Monterey County jail expansion.

For now, inmates will have to stay in the old part of the corrections facility through the start of the new year.

The issues have to do with power supply and the smoke exhaust.

Deputy Chief of Corrections Jim Bass tells me the switch gear that controls the power in the new jail failed a test with PG&E last month. They will have to replace that and re-test it, which will take some time.

There is also an issue with smoke exhaust system that is meant to prevent fires from spreading in the jail cells. These setbacks will push the opening date past Dec. 31.

"A lot of this is predicated on us passing the next test with PG&E for the new switch gear. Again there's a relay that has to be installed, if that passes PG&E's test, it'd be a minimum of 8-10 weeks," said Bass. "And we're hopeful that that goes through and allows us to move in probably mid-spring of next year."

Two inmates escaped the Monterey County jail last month and made it to Mexico before getting detained at the border. Only fencing was in the outside portion where they escaped.

Bass tell KION they have refortified the area, but they have not put inmates back in that section just yet. The project is close to $90 million in cost, but Monterey County got $80 million of it in a grant from the state.

The sheriff's office tells me they are still on budget even with these delays.

Josh Kristianto

Josh Kristianto is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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