While driving along Jackson Street, motorists will see the hulking frame of Brazil's newest step into the technological age being erected at an incredible pace.
Maximizing the use of the newest designs available, the Clay County Jail seeks to be a comforting friend to citizens. Not an enemy to the county's pocketbook, as many perceive the $9 million dollar project.
The old facility, which has been out of step with the American Correctional Standards for the last 15 years, was in poor condition and not a secure facility by today's standards.
"I'd like to commend the Commissioners and the County Council for having the foresight to stay ahead on this topic," Sheriff Rob Carter said while discussing a lawsuit filed by prisoners that forced a new $60 million dollar jail be built in accordance with the ruling of a judge. "We were lucky to not have a major lawsuit like Delaware County due to the poor conditions at the facility we are using now."
The first issue the design team, Schenkel-Shultz Architects.
The old jail houses approximately 45 prisoners in cramped conditions with poor ventilation. The new jail will house 150-170 prisoners in a spacious, well- ventilated facility.
"Our main concern is for public safety." said Sheriff Rob Carter, who was integral in designing the new jail. "We have to get these offenders off the streets."
The cells, or metal pods, will be placed in a u-shaped design around the building with plenty of light and ventilation. This design maximizes the use of an open see-through space with a central guard position elevated above the inmates, allowing officers a clear view of prisoners at all times.
Designed to complement the appearance of the courthouse, the new jail will utilize state of the art technology and some of the most advanced pilot programs for corrections facilities in the state. Computer technology will be utilized to perform many tasks involving prisoners, allowing for minimal staff while increasing the security of the public.
Video Arraignment: The use of video technology through the court system. Judges will be able to arraign prisoners without the prisoners having to leave the secure facility. Thus stopping escape attempts and fights during transportation between the courthouse and the jail, while increasing courthouse and public safety.
Video visitation: The use of video technology for prisoners to visit with family members through computer terminals. While prisoners log on to a computer terminal inside a secure area, the family will be located at an off-site visitation module with a computer terminal. This stops the possible exchange of contraband and makes the facility safe for visitors.
TeleMed: The use of video technology for minor medical consultation between doctor and prisoners, leaving only the most severe medical cases needing off site transportation to the hospital. This cuts down on the staff needed to transport and guard prisoners during a medical examination while increasing the safety for medical staff and the public.
Indoor/Outdoor Recreational Yard: A fully enclosed area, with outside ventilation and lighting, is completely visible from the central guard station which ensuring that prisoners will not leave the building during recreational times.
The new facility was designed to completely house a prisoner from the moment of arrest and incarceration to release without the need to leave the building.
"We wanted a design that was staff friendly and efficient with safety features for the public and prisoners." said Sheriff Carter as he explained that the design is also future oriented. "This design allows us to pay attention to staffing, payroll, and growth considerations in the future."