The County of Berks has announced that the Berks County Correctional Facility project website, bccf.countyofberks.com, is now available for the public to learn more about the vision behind the project and follow along in the planning process. The website will serve as the new hub for all information and updates on the project and is available in English and Spanish (bccf.countyofberks.com/es).
The County of Berks restarted the planning process to construct a new correctional facility to replace the existing County Jail in January 2022. The project originally started in 2018 but was put on hold for nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on studies, forecasts and current judicial system trends, it was determined that it would be significantly more cost-effective to build a new facility than renovate the existing one. The new website includes a timeline that outlines the progress of the project to date that will be expanded as work continues.
The County hired CGL Companies, LLC, a national corrections planning and design firm, to assist with the planning process and public outreach, and appointed a Steering Committee that regularly meets with firm representatives.
The mission for the Berks County Correctional Facility is to provide secure, safe and compassionate confinement for those who are temporarily incarcerated by providing cost-efficient services focused on rehabilitation, recidivism reduction and social restoration with an emphasis on education and self-improvement.
By providing evidence-based programming, those confined at the facility will be more prepared to re-enter the community as law-abiding and productive citizens.
Information about the Steering Committee, including past and upcoming meeting agendas and meeting minutes, will now also be available on the project website.
The website will also be the home for any reports and other important documents that are part of the project. In late July, the Commissioners approved of a Needs Assessment Update report that will aid in the decision making for long-term capacity requirements by considering industry norms and county-specific information. The 114-page report is available for download on the website.
Finally, the website includes information about how to stay informed, including a sign-up form for residents to join a mailing list to receive updates about the project. The County is dedicated to being transparent about this process and looks forward to creating a facility that will provide an opportunity to change our community for the better.