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SEAL BEACH : Westminster Signs Deal to Use Jail

The city’s revamped, privately run jail has a new customer. The city of Westminster has signed a one-year contract to send nonviolent prisoners to the Seal Beach facility instead of the County Jail in Santa Ana.

The Seal Beach Jail opened in August after a private company spent $50,000 to remodel the never-used facility behind the Seal Beach Police Department. The new jail immediately saved the city the $158 booking fee charged by the county for each prisoner sent to the County Jail. But city officials hope to make the jail a profitable enterprise by also attracting business from neighboring cities.

The city of Westminster will pay a daily housing fee of $62.50 for each prisoner sent to the jail or held in the rubber-floored detoxification room. Westminster Mayor Charles V. Smith said the switch from the County Jail will save his city time and money.

“It takes far less time to take prisoners down to Seal Beach than it does to take them to the County Jail,” Smith said. “If you add that to the lower booking fee cost, then it becomes much cheaper for us to take prisoners to Seal Beach.”

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City officials estimate that after the first year of operation, the 30-bed facility could earn $100,000 a year in fees from other cities and law enforcement agencies.

Only low- to moderate-risk prisoners are held at the jail, which is operated by Bud Grossman, former western region director of the federal Bureau of Prisons.

City officials say the jail is one of the few privately run jails in the state and the only such facility in the county. The city of Irvine has a privately run holding facility that city officials say has been a success during its first six months of operation.


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