January 15, 2022

Hundreds of Marion County detainees transferred to new Community Justice Campus


Sheriff Kerry Forestal (center) and Deputy Chief Tanesha Crear (left) with the Marion County Sheriff's Office discuss the process of moving detainees to the new Community Justice Campus on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. - (Elizabeth Gabriel/WFYI)

Sheriff Kerry Forestal (center) and Deputy Chief Tanesha Crear (left) with the Marion County Sheriff's Office discuss the process of moving detainees to the new Community Justice Campus on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.

(Elizabeth Gabriel/WFYI)

Multiple motorcades with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office transferred general population detainees Saturday morning from the Marion County Jail to the new Adult Detention Center.

The open-concept, technology-inspired Community Justice Campus — which will house departments such as the jail, courts system and sheriff’s office — is one of Indiana's more modern jails. Officials said in a press conference Saturday morning the new facility is a step-up from the previous jail, which was originally built in 1962.

Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said Indianapolis previously had five jails scattered around the city. Now everything will be under one roof. The facility also includes a medical center with 32 acute care beds and 300 chronic care beds in order to mitigate security concerns and reduce how often detainees leave the facility.

“One of the things we have presently in the city-county building, you'll see people chained and walking through with the public,” Forestal said. “That doesn't happen when this opens up. Everything is underground [and is] separate from the public.”

About one-third of lower-level detainees were transferred to the new facility Friday night from the private Marion County Jail II, as well as inmate workers. Earlier this week on Monday, about 200 women and some juvenile detainees were moved. 

In November, officials with the Marion County Sheriff's Office said they wanted to hire about 80 staff members before the new building opened, but those positions are still unfilled. The MCSO currently has a staffing shortage of 220 detention deputies and other staff.

Staff from other facilities, including the Hancock and Johnson County Department of Corrections, assisted with the transition. Other counties were slated to help with the move but canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. 

The new facility was designed to include more technology to address some of the issues that arose at the outdated Marion County Jail I. For example, the number of video courts in the county jail will now jump from six to 64.

Instead of using paper to complete requests, Deputy Chief Tanesha Crear said the new facility will electronically process requests for things such as medical services, chaplain visits or programming services in order to provide a quicker and efficient response.

“The inmate population appears to be very pleased with their new living environment,” Crear said. “There [are] a lot of questions as to some of the newer technology, as to how to get that operated. But we have welcoming videos with instructions for the newer technology that will be playing throughout and streamed on the TVs inside the inmate housing units to the population.”

Forestal said the MCSO plans to transfer all of the roughly 2,200 detainees by the end of the month.

Contact WFYI education reporter Elizabeth Gabriel at egabriel@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @_elizabethgabs.

 

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