Napa County officials broke ground Friday on a 72-bed correctional re-entry facility adjacent to Napa State Hospital and Syar Industries on Highway 221 that will provide services intended to reduce repeat offending.

The single-story facility sits on a 27-acre county-owned property that may someday also contain the downtown jail once the county cobbles together funding to begin phase one construction.

The re-entry building is costing $17 million, with the state providing $13.5 million. The rest of the money is coming from funds dedicated to criminal justice activities and the county’s General Fund. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018.

The 23,000-square-foot facility will help reduce recidivism by providing lower level offenders with opportunities for employment and education through structured programs and services that decrease the long-term need for expensive jail beds, county officials said.

“The facility underscores the commitment of Napa County to criminal rehabilitation and the safety of the community,” said Supervisor Belia Ramos, chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors. “This project would not be possible without our state partners, and the innovation and collaboration among county agencies, particularly our probation and corrections departments.”

There will be classrooms and program space available to meet the needs for mental health counseling, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, and job training and employment services, among others, that help offenders become self-sufficient productive members of society once they’re released.

Inmates will be in four one-story dorms with a courtyard in the center. Many will leave during the day to go to work or classes and return at night.

While the inmates will be considered in custody, the facility won’t be locked and secured quite like a jail, Chief Probation Officer Mary Butler told the Board of Supervisors in April.

The Probation Department will provide the programs, while the county Department of Corrections will provide security, which will include cameras and alarms.

During the last quarter of 2016, 38 percent of those who were placed on supervision with the probation department had previous convictions, the county noted.

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“These incentive-based programs improve a person’s behavior through time, preparation, programming, and the tools to stay out of custody,” said Lenard Vare, corrections director. “This project highlights the county’s emphasis on evidence-based practices.”

Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included Ramos, Vare, Butler, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Napa Superior Court Judge Mark S. Boessenecker and Interim County Executive Officer Minh Tran.

The county is currently studying how to finance a first-phase, 96-bed jail on the site. In April, county officials estimated this project would cost $78 million.

Long term, the county would like to build a 366-bed jail on the Highway 221 site. This would allow the county to demolish the old jail and redevelop a key downtown Napa site with commercial uses.

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