- Who will be housed there?
- Will this be a regional facility? What would that mean?
- The current jail has staffing issues for 732 inmates. How are you going to staff a much larger facility?
- Why is the new facility double capacity? Are you anticipating a crime wave?
- Will inmates have outdoor activities?
- How will the medical, rehab and mental health care be improved?
Why do we need to build a new facility?
In order to satisfy legal requirements as to overcrowding, the current jail, with a bed count of 732, must remain at or under a census of 622 individuals in order to not be deemed overcrowded. The jail could potentially have two additional floors added to a portion which would add 226 beds, resulting in a target census of 822 individuals. A review of the jail’s census over the past 5 years reflects that adding on to the existing jail will not resolve overcrowding. With a target of 822 inmates to avoid overcrowding, the jail would be full and likely overcrowded from the day the addition opens. Unfortunately, a new jail is necessary.
The new facility is being constructed for a target number of 1,300 beds but there will never be that many individuals incarcerated for a number of reasons: The new facility will be constructed with more space for physical and mental care. Areas that are engineered to be more sensory-friendly for certain inmates with mental health concerns. In addition, some pods will be female only, and there are restrictions on what level of offenders may be housed together. All of these segregation considerations mean that at any given time, some number of beds will be unused. And finally, the current jail was over rated capacity, 80 percent full, from the date of opening. The goal is for that not be a factor for many years.
How will staffing be improved?
The new design of modern jails has better sight lines, there is a staff pod in the middle of "spokes" as the cell blocks are pie shaped. There is no need to transfer prisoners between jail segments, i.e. cell to clinic or cell to rec area. So it actually will take many fewer staff to supervise more prisoners.
Who will be housed there?
Pre-trial offenders can be any class. Sentenced felons go to state prison. Sentenced misdemeanors go to jail or an alternative program, which is overseen by the court system. We do hold people who rae wanted in another county if they have committed a crime here and are arrested here. They must go through proper protocols in allen County and are then transferred to the other county.
There will be no outdoor activities outside of the jail. There are spaces on the interior of the building that will accommodate exercise and time out of cell for inmates. Upon discharge, inmates are free to leave on their own free will as they may no longer be lawfully detained. Their possessions and the balance of their commissary money is returned. We are working on establishing a public bus route that will pick up at the Jail for those being released. Otherwise, they will rely on rides from friends/family, ride share service or walk.
Improvements for Inmates:
Currently, to get recreation time, an inmate has to ride an elevator to a different floor, walk through the building and to the outdoor space. So some of the time out of cell is wasted in travel. This transit time is also a danger to the jail staff and inmate. In the new facility, each pod has a designated adjoining exercise area. There will also be an in-house health clinic which will save on travel time, transportation expense and exposure for all involved.