San Bernardino County held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the expansion of a maximum-security jail funded partly with lease-revenue bonds created by state legislation.

The measure provided $1.2 billion in California lease-revenue bond financing to add 13,000 jail beds to help with overcrowding in county jails.

The passage of AB 900 in 2007, also known as the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Service Act, provided $7.7 billion overall to add 53,000 prison and jail beds throughout the state.

The San Bernardino County expansion project will cost $120 million for construction with the share from AB 900 coming in around $82 million.

Each county is required to provide 25% matching funds unless its population is less than 200,000, in which case it may seek a match reduction.

The groundbreaking this week is the first local jail construction project and fourth AB 900 construction project this year.

“Projects like this one will provide much needed breathing space in our prisons and jails, and I look forward to many more groundbreakings taking place in the future,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who attended the ceremony.

Counties that assist in locating state re-entry facilities and helping parolees get mental health services get preferential funding. There are currently 11 counties with conditional jail construction awards.

In November, California broke ground on a 1,722-bed inmate medical facility southeast of Stockton. In June, it started construction on a 64-bed intermediate-care mental health facility at California Medical Facility in Vacaville and a 45-bed mental health facility for female inmates in Chino.

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