Glen Helen Prisoner Escape Issues Resolved

(September 13) County officials have redressed several crucial security issues at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore, after the expenditure of roughly $2 million.
Following a rash of escapes from the facility, located at 18000 West Institution Road in Devore, last year, the board of supervisors at the prodding of the sheriff’s department on September 11, 2012 declared there was “substantial evidence that the recent escapes of pre-sentenced inmates at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center created an emergency requiring immediate action to prevent or mitigate the loss or impairment of life, health, property, and service to the public.” Because of the urgency of the situation, the county did not hold a formal competitive solicitation of bids to improve the security of the facility, instead extending a no-bid contract to Bellevue, Washington-based Lydig Construction, Inc., which already had established a relationship with the county through its work on the Adelanto Detention Facility. The board approved a project budget of $3 million, consisting of project management costs of $2,320; design costs of $6,680; construction costs of $1,891,000; and a project contingency of $1,100,000.  Another $59,836 to install security fencing surrounding the main recreation yard was provided directly from the Inmate Welfare Fund and was not included in the project budget. In December 2012, the board awarded a $999,996 construction contract to Lydig, providing for the construction of interior security improvements for housing units M1 and M2. Shortly after the approval of the contract with Lydig, the potential for grant funding from the state of California in the form of Senate Bill 1022 became available.
Working in concert with the sheriff’s department, Lydig undertook several external improvements to the facility, including replacing all of the barbed wire on top of the fencing and adjacent roof around both minimum housing units as well at the female housing facility with multiple strand barbed wire and razor wire; installation of “no climb” mesh topped with multiple strand barbed wire and razor wire on the fencing and adjacent roofs surrounding the maximum security outdoor recreation yards; replacement of the existing 10 foot high perimeter fencing with 14 foot high fencing that includes “no climb” mesh on the upper 4 feet of the interior fencing together with the installation of  razor wire on the top of both the interior and exterior fencing as well as on the ground in between both fences; installation of a “dig barrier” around the entire inner fence; and installation of 10 foot high fencing topped with razor wire surrounding the main recreation yard.
One of the other security needs identified by the sheriff’s department is the replacement of all perimeter exterior lighting with higher intensity lighting to improve visibility in the evening hours. A study has been completed that identified the necessary new light fixture to achieve the visibility goals, and is currently being purchased and installed by sheriff’s maintenance staff.
Though the external security measures have been completed or are under way, the interior improvements approved by the board last December have not been undertaken, as the funding for them has yet to be obtained.
This week, the county board of supervisors made a finding that the imminent threat of escapes from Glen Hellen has passed and terminated the declaration of an emergency situation at the facility. The board also approved a deductive change order in the amount of $988,983 to the last December’s contract with Lydig Construction, decreasing the contract amount from $999,996 to $11,013 for the internal improvements approved at that time.
“With the reduction in the contract amount of $988,983 with Lydig Construction, Inc., approximately $1 million remains in the project budget that will not be expended at this time for interior security improvements for housing units M1 and M2 at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center,” Carl Alban, the director of the county architecture & engineering department told the board of supervisors prior to its vote at its meeting on Tuesday.  “The sheriff’s department is currently preparing a proposal for SB1022 funding, and if successful, this funding would allow for the replacement of the existing housing units M1 and M2. Following discussions with the county administrative office and the sheriff’s department, it was determined to defer the proposed work in housing units M1 and M2 pending the outcome of grant awards for SB1022.

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