California allocated $1.2 billion in 2007 to build more jails to stem a growing overcrowding problem, but not a single new building has been constructed.
According to the Sacramento Bee, since then, a 2011 California law that redirects low-level offenders to county jails, instead of state prisons, has added to the demand for jail space.
"The red tape is unbelievable."
- Manuel Perez, Madera County's corrections director
Still, six years after the state approved the $1.2 billion for jails, not a single county has finished construction. And only five have even begun the process of building new cells, according to the paper.
State and county budget issues have been cited by officials as partly to blame, but there are also a number of bureaucratic roadblocks that make it almost impossible to get anything done.
"The red tape is unbelievable," Manuel Perez, Madera County's corrections director, told the Sacramento Bee. "It's not an easy process."
Space is a much-needed commodity, with county sheriffs saying they need more jail beds. This comes after jailers had to release inmates 153,000 times statewide in 2012 because there wasn’t enough space to house them, a 28 percent increase over the year before, state figures show, according to the paper.