Update, January 17: The Marion County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that it has completed the first phase of its transfer of inmates to the adult detention center at the new Community Justice Campus.
In a press release, the office said the move of nearly 1,500 detainees was uneventful.
A total of 1,487 inmates have been transferred since Jan. 10 from Marion County Jail 1, Marion County Jail 2, and City-County Building. Marion County Jail 1 and the City-County building are now vacant, according to the sheriff’s office. Approximately 700 inmates remain at Marion County Jail 2 and will be moved into the adult detention center by the end of the month.
Earlier: At 9 a.m. sharp Saturday, a police motorcade guarding two pickup trucks of Marion County Jail inmates rolled through a large gate behind the sprawling new Community Justice Campus on Indianapolis’ East Side.
It was the first of many motorcades that will continue to relocate the general population until the 2,200 people from the two former Marion County jails are housed in the new $600 million jail and court complex in the Twin Aire district, to the east of the city.
That task should be completed by the end of the month, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said, adding that safety around transportation was a high priority.
“At this point, everything is going well,” he said on Saturday morning, just after the first general public procession. “We take this very seriously. We don’t want to be approached when the vans are moving from one point to another. Anyone with a stupid idea, thought it was time to get their friend out, they would run into strong resistance. No one will leave this procession.”
On Friday night, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office moved inmate workers from the City-County Building, as well as low-level offenders from Marion County Jail II, the private jail — about a third of that city’s population. jail, Forestal said. This transfer ended around 1:30 a.m.
During the Jan. 10 college football championship game, the sheriff’s office transferred about 200 women and some juvenile detainees, he said.
The complex was originally scheduled to open in December 2021. Pandemic-related supply chain issues have delayed the movement of some other departments to the new justice center. While the sheriff’s administrative team is there, the law enforcement division deputies will remain at the City-County Building until the courts move to CJC, which is expected by the end of February.
The new 11-story courthouse is ready to accommodate the county’s 37 judges. A new youth and family services center, coroner’s office and forensic laboratory, as well as a professional building that will house the public defender and probation service have yet to be constructed.
Work on all of these facilities is planned throughout 2022 and 2023.
The 770,000 square foot jail has a capacity of 3,000 inmates, while the two old jails and the City-County Building combined had a capacity of 2,500. Marion County has budgeted for 2,400 inmates in 2022, according to the sheriff’s office.
“It wasn’t built for a future where everyone goes to jail. There are other options to not go to jail,” Forestal said, mentioning the new Assessment and Intervention Center, a mental health and residential center and the first completed part of the CJC. “We don’t want to be the biggest mental health facility, but that’s how it is right now. We’re working with the other branches of government to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
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While old prisons used paper, the new prison will keep electronic files and track inmates through Wi-Fi-powered wristbands. Inmates will use tablets to make requests for medical needs or program activities, a said Deputy Chief Tanesha Crear. “Welcome videos” in the living units provided instructions for their new technology-driven lifestyle in the prison.
The prison has 65 places for programming and its own medical clinic with 300 chronic care beds, 32 acute care beds, a dental room and a physiotherapy room.