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Proposed Prison Expansion in Adelanto Causes Public Apprehension

ADELANTO: ( – Due to the pressure and the common public knowledge of the overcrowding of Los Angeles County Jails the county has voted to plunge into a $2-billion plan to tear down and rebuild the Men’s Central Jail located in downtown Los Angeles. The Men’s Central Jail, built in 1963, is one of the oldest County Prisons in the state of California and is said to be outdated. This new project’s objective is to address the need for more services and better for those prisoners with physical and mental health needs and to add beds to help solve the overcrowding problem, which yearly has led to thousands of early releases every year.

A private correctional facility developer, is proposing to build a 3280 bed facility in the city of Adelanto, to house the overflow of inmates from the LA County prison system. Once built the proposal states that the beds would be leased to Los Angeles county for a term of 20 years at the price of approximately $32,120 per bed, per year totaling about $105 million per year. Adelanto City Manager James Hart said, “The project is in the very preliminary discussion stages with no commitment from LA County. It is just a concept now.”  

This project is said to possibly bring some hope to the City of Adelanto, to help prevent a seemingly imminent bankruptcy of the struggling city. The city of Adelanto first announced a fiscal emergency in June 2013.  The obvious solution to most cities with such an emergency, would be a tax increase.  For the approximately, 31.000 Adelanto residents a tax increase can be detrimental being that out of the 7,300 households, 28% of live under the poverty line.

This proposal of new prison facilities can mean many things to for the city of Adelanto, also known as the city with unlimited possibilities. Although many in the Victor Valley area are strongly against this idea, feeling that it will bring more crime there are also those who feel it will benefit the community through jobs and other revenue brought to the area by those employed by the prison and those visiting inmates at the prison.  Apple Valley resident, Tim Galvan said, “Every service industry will benefit, from it (the expansion) including hotels, gas stations, restaurants, etc., more people means more dollars spent up here.” Others did not see the potential but felt there may be a better location for the prison. Victor Valley News group member, Francy Ragains-Lesh said, “There is so much open space out in the desert. Why can’t they put it there somewhere?  I do realize that would be an issue for those that work at the facilities, but the last thing we need is another prison up here.”.  

For now it is just a possibility for the city of unlimited possibilities, however, the city and the public must wait and see what the future holds. For the city, it can mean saving itself from bankruptcy, and for the people it can mean more jobs, more revenue but some still are very concerned with the crime rate increase the plan can potentially bring to the Victor Valley area.

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