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The new facility has more space for physical and mental health care. It also provides areas that are engineered to be more sensory-friendly for certain inmates with mental health concerns.
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Pre-trial offenders can be any class. Sentenced felons go to state prison. Sentenced misdemeanor offenders might go to jail or one of our many alternative programs, which are overseen by the court system. All of these decisions are totally reliant on the Judicial Officers and legal guidance.
We do hold people who are 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.
Regional jails are already permitted under Indiana Code, no approval would be needed by the Indiana General Assembly. However, we are not pursuing, or have we ever said we were pursuing a regional jail facility.
By law, we had to send letters to all neighboring counties to gauge their interest in a joint facility. None were interested. We have talked about the need for a regional mental health center, but that is not a confinement facility like a jail.
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. This allows fewer staff members to supervise more inmates at once. There is no need to transfer prisoners between jail segments, i.e. cell to clinic or cell to recreation area. So it actually will take many fewer staff to supervise more prisoners.
We are not anticipating a crime wave, as in an exponential increase in the percentage of those who commit a crime vs. those who do not. We are anticipating a population boom. Last year, Allen County issued more than $1 billion in building permits. According to Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Allen County is one of the fastest growing communities in the Great Lakes region. Just as builders and developers must anticipate a housing boom in light of the growing population, the county must anticipate an increased need for a larger jail based on population projections. The plans for the new jail need to keep in mind the requirements of Allen County for the next 10-20 years.
There will be no outdoor activities outside of jail. There are outdoor spaces on the interior of the building. These will be a larger space that is laid out in a more efficient way and means all of these can be provided in a more efficient manner. For example, to get to an exercise area currently, inmates have to ride an elevator to a different floor and walk through the building to the outdoor space. So, some of their time out of their cell is wasted in travel. The proposed new plan places inmates closer to the facilities and services.
The county is obligated to provide full medical care.
Drug therapy depends on the inmate and what a doctor determines they require for treatment. There is no mandated drug therapy that inmates are required to take.
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.
Details are unknown about transportation at this time. Talks are ongoing with Citilink and we are exploring shuttle services.
Will the residents have to deal with inmate interaction while being transported in vans to and from court?
Transportation vans used by the jail do not have windows. Typically, kids do not play along Maplecrest or Meyer. If they happen to be on those roads, a person in the back of a police/sheriff vehicle could look out the window and see them much like they can now while being transported anywhere in the county, whether it is for a hospital visit or court or being taken to jail from wherever in the community they’ve been arrested. There are some circumstances that simply cannot be controlled.
How do you get around the law of having sex offenders within 1,000 feet of a park? The distance is not applicable to a confinement center.
How are you going to protect people from a sex offender upon release? Sex offenders are a felony case, and are sent to state prison upon sentencing.