MIRAMAR, Calif. - The Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar reopened its doors as Joint Regional Correctional Facility Southwest Feb. 4.
The new addition to the existing facility added 200 housing units, space for a new library, classrooms, multipurpose rooms, counseling rooms and a new industries building where inmates can learn technical skills.
The new facilities cost $32 million and added 100,000 square feet to the brig complex, which can now house 600 inmates. Ninety Marines and 17 civilian employees are joining the new facility to accommodate the increased number of inmates, and prisoners from local brigs are already moving into the JRCFS, explained Stover.
Officials began planning the expanded facilities in 2004, before Base Realignment and Closure 2005 that called for a consolidation of brig facilities across the country. The JRCFS is now one of five military correctional facilities in the nation.
Cmdr. Robert Stover, executive officer of the JRCFS, explained that the facility will earn the first Leadership in Energy and Environment Design Gold certification for energy efficiency in a Department of Defense correctional facility. No other adult correctional facilities in California have achieved this certification.
The new facility use solar panels to supplement the hot water supply and will eventually boast enough panels to supply 25 to 30 percent of the building’s energy needs, explained Bill Bashore, the command evaluator for the JRCFS. The building also relies on low-flow toilets and motion-based light sensors to preserve water and energy.
The JRCFS will also support the Department of Veterans Affairs by providing grounds keeping for local national cemeteries and cutting headstones in the new industries building for national cemeteries, explained Stover. The efforts of the staff and inmates of the facility will save the VA an estimated $2 million each year.
“It helps reinforce the idea of giving back to the society for the prisoners,” said Stover. “Corrections are more than a feed tray and a key. It’s about ensuring they never do that again. Establishing an environment where they can do serious behavior work is important.”
Stover explained that correctional facilities prepare inmates to return to honorable service or easily transition into civilian life at the end of their sentences. Facility planners, Stover added, designed the new additions specifically to meet the rehabilitation needs of more inmates.
This new brig facility will meet the needs of southwest Department of Defense corrections for the next fifty years, explained Bashore.