The Santa Barbara County law enforcement community held a ceremony Thursday for the opening of a new northern Santa Barbara County Jail branch in Santa Maria.
The project first broke ground in 2016, but was delayed multiple times due to various issues, including the pandemic and intrusive wildlife.
Law enforcement officials say the new jail will significantly decrease jail booking times for local law enforcement agencies. It will also allow officers to return to patrol their communities much quicker, improving public safety.
"This jail is also going to be incredibly convenient and provide an element of safety to the local communities up here in particular Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Lompoc and in the unincorporated areas of north county," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Bill Brown.
Officials say the new facility is designed to help engage prisoners with rehabilitation while serving time.
The goal is to help people lead a more positive and healthy lifestyle.
The jail is expected to house inmates starting next month, with the capacity to house up to 376 inmates.