Red ink locks up Alpine jail expansion |

Red ink locks up Alpine jail expansion

Jo Rafferty
Alpine County Sheriff John Crawford, left, points out the possible location for the new sheriff's office in Markleeville.

Until California’s budget picture starts to look brighter, plans to expand Alpine County’s inmate capacity beyond a single holding cell will stay on hold.

Funding department officials had hoped for new construction is not available. Until it is, the cell located in the basement of the Alpine County Courthouse, which was built in 1928, will have to suffice.

“With what occurred in California with the state and county budget, it was not feasible to move forward on a new facility at this time,” said Sheriff John Crawford.

Property behind the general store, adjacent to the Alpine County Administration Building, was purchased a few years ago for the future Alpine County Sheriff’s Office, but right now no funding is available to build on it, according to Leonard Turnbeaugh, director of Public Works and county surveyor.

Coring of the soil and drafting of floor plans have been done so far, but the sheriff’s office is still in the preliminary planning stages, he said.

“We’re looking for funding sources,” said Turnbeaugh.

Currently there is one holding cell, used only for prisoners waiting to go to court. Two cells were available until several years ago, but one is now being used as a storage room.

Inmates are taken to El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe until their court date.

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