SANTA ANA — Renovations planned at a Los Angeles detention center have prompted a proposal going before the Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 1, to house an additional 173 inmates for two years at Santa Ana Jail – a transfer that could aid the facility, which is operating at a loss, while a reuse study is completed.
If approved, the transfer would nearly double the population at the 512-bed jail. As of Monday morning, the facility housed 200 inmates, Jail Administrator Christina Holland said.
The U.S. Marshal’s Service, one of two agencies that still have a contract at the jail, requested immediate approval of the transfer under terms of its existing agreement to pay $105 per day for each inmate. All would be pre-trial inmates under custody of the Marshal’s Service or the Bureau of Prisons, the other agency with a contract at the jail.
Besides the proposal for additional bed space, the Marshal’s Service general population at the jail increased by about 75 inmates, generating a projected $2.8 million for the city in fiscal year 2017-18. Combined, they will bring an estimated $8 million to the city during the fiscal year, according to a city staff report.
To accommodate the new inmates, the jail operations budget would need to increase by $6.1 million to add personnel positions. The bolstered jail operations would prevent 26 correctional officer position layoffs “and provide additional time needed to implement jail reuse options, and/or negotiate housing agreements with Federal and State agencies,” the staff report states.
If council members support the proposal, the jail’s net operating deficit for fiscal year 2017-18 would be reduced by $4 million. For fiscal year 2017-18, $2.2 million more – representing a year of revenue from all the anticipated inmates – would be realized as deficit savings, according to the staff report.
Mayor Pro Tem Michele Martinez on Friday said she did not have all the financial and hiring details on the proposal and planned to meet with Acting City Manager Cynthia Kurtz prior to Tuesday’s meeting.
“The city approved to move towards a holding facility, so not sure how we hire temporary employees to contract with the Marshal’s on a temporary basis,” she said in a text message. “The devil is always in the details.”