General Politics

Grand Re-Opening of the High Desert Detention Center

By John McMahon
Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials unveiled a new, state-of-the-art expansion of the High Desert Detention Center Thursday that will provide more housing capacity for inmates and better services to High Desert residents by eliminating the need for deputies to travel to Rancho Cucamonga to book inmates with medical conditions.

The High Desert Detention Center expansion is comprised of 297,000 square feet of various buildings on 8 acres of land and was built adjacent to the existing facility, formerly known as Adelanto Detention Center. Six housing units were constructed, adding an additional 1,392 beds that will help housing issues brought about by the realignment of state prisoners.

In October of 2011, Gov. Brown shifted the responsibility of housing of some state prisoners from the state to the county in an effort to comply with a federal mandate regarding prison overcrowding. As a result, the sheriff’s departments in California have been tasked with housing inmates that would have normally been sent to state prison.

The Sheriff’s Department applied for state funding designated for realignment and placed first in the competitive application process to secure $100 million in funding for the expansion. Also, leveraging the additional facility saved taxpayers more than $30 million versus the cost of building an entirely new stand-alone building.

The High Desert Detention Center will not only add much-needed bed space, it also boasts several technological, medical and social innovations that will provide better security and services to the inmates. The facility is equipped with a high-definition video surveillance system to enhance safety and reduce liability exposure. The facility is also equipped with video visitation, allowing inmates more access to visit with family members. This technology decreases movement throughout the facility, thus making it safer.

Medical advancements at the facility include specially coated walls to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, as well as an onsite dental facility equipped with two stations and staffed with a full-time dental hygienist and a dentist three days a week. Additionally, the facility was designed to allow rehabilitation services, classes and programs to be run directly in the housing units, giving inmates better access to services and, again, eliminating the need for inmate movement.

HDDC will also provide basic medical services to inmates, negating the need for deputies assigned to patrol in the High Desert to have to drive to West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga to book inmates with common medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. This single fact alone will prove a betterment for the entire High Desert region as deputies can stay in the region and get back to their assigned area to provide increased proactive patrol duties.

The new facility will open in phases, with 222 beds being filled in the first phase. These inmates will be determined based on court cases in the High Desert and will be transferred from West Valley Detention Center within weeks.

High Desert Detention Center Facts

  • Design for this facility began inApril, 2006, shortly after the opening of the original Adelanto Detention Center
  • Construction began in 2011 and was completed at a cost of $145.4 million
  • The project consisted of the following:
  • Construction of a new 25,000-square foot support and booking building
  • Construction of 3 new housing units for a total of 255,000 square feet
  • Remodeled existing kitchen and laundry facilities to handle the increase in population
  • Construction of new parking lot, sally ports and fire access roads
  • Each of the three individual housing buildings weighs approximately 11,000 tons, not including the furnishings or foundation
  • 18,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in construction
  • 5,297,842 pounds of rebar were used
  • 1,882,000 linear feet of wire were used
  • 600,000 linear feet of airlines were used
  • 950,027 linear feet of conduit were used
  • There are 736 smoke detectors in the new facility
  • The HDDC has a new water facility system consisting of a well, water treatment system, 228,000-gallon storage tank that allows the facility to maintain its own drinking water supply in the event of a natural disaster.

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