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St. Joseph County Jail to receive several improvements amid COVID-19 concerns

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 5:40 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Keeping up with COVID-19 concerns at the St. Joseph County Jail will cost millions.

The price tag on a jail improvement project is expected to be about $2.5 million. County officials will seek reimbursement from the federal government through the CARES Act.

Plans call for doubling the current number of courtrooms at the jail from two to four. All will be connected to the courthouse via closed-circuit TV.

“What we did last year was we started utilizing video court prior to COVID,” said Sheriff William Redman. “One of my goals was to upgrade our technology here in the jail and prevent us from having to transport people back and forth to court everyday, making it safer for our staff and for our community.”

The St. Joseph County Jail has also hosted closed circuit hearings for federal courts from Lafayette to Hammond.

Last week alone more than 90 inmates held at the jail were facing federal charges.

Changes are also in store for the third floor medical wing. Plans call for improvements to the air distribution system that will create negative air flow and use ionization technology to to kill viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

“It helps keep control over the air flow so it’s not circulating throughout the jail,” said Sheriff Redman. “The jail is 20 years old so things that, when this was brand new, technology was up and coming.”

The project is on a tight timetable. A federal funding commitment must come by Dec. 31.

Today the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to move forward with the project with DLZ in charge of design and bid specifications.

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