Orange County’s James A. Musick jail detention facility is about to get a much-needed facelift thanks to funding that has been awarded by the state last week. The county was granted $100 million out of the total $602 million that has divided up among 11 counties that needed jail expansions and improvements.
The expansion to the Musick Jail will give the minimum-security facility a state-of-the-art upgrade and add an extra 500 beds to help give more room for the increased number of inmates due to the prison realignment.
The city of Irvine has been objecting to the updating of the facility, which may open the door for medium-security inmates.
The current facility, called “The Farm,” opened in 1963 on 100 acres as an agricultural operation. Today, it houses up to 1,250 inmates in four compounds that are comprised of varying structures, including tents and a logging cabin from Oregon.
Most of the inmates have charges like narcotics violations, drunk driving or probation violations. While most of the agricultural programs have ended, the inmates are still provided with vocational and educational programs, plus special works projects, like sewing clothing for veterans returning with amputations and making angels to give to sick people over the holidays.
Officials from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department will need to update the current environmental impact report for the facility before the state funding will be handed over. The last time this was done was over 10 years ago.
Construction on the facility is not expected to begin until 2015 and may take three years to finish.