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Saturday, June 25, 2016

County inmates moved to new jail

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Ivy Herron photo

Deputy Jeff Maynard hands Sheriff Mike Heaton a flag taken down one last time from the pole outside the old jail. The fates of two flags that have flown over the old jail, a United States flag and and Indiana State flag, are undecided at this time.

The city block surrounding the Clay County Justice Center was closed to the public Tuesday evening.

Guards posted at intersections turned away traffic while officers performed the last phase of moving prisoners to the new jail.

The task began early Tuesday evening, as 47 inmates housed at the old Clay County Jail were told this was the night they would get their first look at the accommodations at the Clay County Justice Center.

The first group, consisting of maximum security inmates, was secured inside the new jail shortly before 9 p.m.

Shackled, handcuffed and transferred by van in small groups to the facility less than a block away, the inmates' first stop was a holding cell for a new change of clothes.

Traditional black and white striped uniforms were given maximum and medium security inmates, green and white stripes to minimum security inmates and orange to inmate trustees. The clothing will aid in identifying prisoners' classifications.

A handbook with the list of new rules for the facility was inmate reading material as jail personnel helped sort through their possessions to determine what could be kept and what needed to be thrown away or shipped home to their families.

After a quick briefing, inmates were led down the corridor to their new cell blocks.

Shortly after 11 p.m. the streets were reopened to the public.

The transfer went off without a hitch.

"They (the inmates) are just as excited about moving into the new jail as we are," Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "There hasn't been any problems during the transfer."

Brazil City Police, Clay County Reserve Deputies, Clay City Police, Indiana State Police and various town marshals and jail personnel assisted with the move.

"This was a huge undertaking and I commend everyone involved for a job well done," Commissioner Charlie Brown said. "We can all take moment to relax now, it's done."

A moment all the time officers and jail personnel had before they returned to the old jail and continued to move items from the old facility into the new jail throughout the night.

"It's kind of sad in a way. It's the end of an era," Heaton said, after locking the doors to the jail that served the community since the 1960s. "When you look at what we had, you understand why we needed this. This is a new beginning."

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