New jail hits snag with software issues
By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 11, 2017 9:26 AM
County Manager George Wood and facilities manager Kendall Lee discuss the ongoing construction at the new $10 million Carey A. Winders Detention Center during a recent tour.
Software problems at the new Carey A. Winders Detention Center have delayed the training of detention officers at the new facility as well as the final state inspection.
"The electronics control the mechanisms that open and close cell doors and things of that nature," Sheriff Larry Pierce said. "We have had programming problems with that so that has been the (training) holdup, and you can't get a state inspection until you get those problems resolved."
Inmates are expected to be moved into the jail between Feb. 1 and March 1, Pierce said.
"We just haven't got everything nailed down yet as far as all of the electronics," he said. "We have the final inspection by the state, we are still waiting on that."
The hope is the problems will be resolved by today well ahead of an open house, including tours, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at the jail, he said.
No parking will be available on site for those attending the open house. Those attending are asked to park in the marked area at 309 Royall Ave. and ride the shuttle to the detention center.
The new $10 million jail, located at 900 N. William St., is named in memory of Winders, who served as sheriff for nearly 20 years.
Winders, 57, died unexpectedly in January 2014.
Pierce said he is not sure how many inmates will be included in the initial move in.
That number will be influenced by repairs that will begin at the current jail on William Street downtown next to the Wayne County Courthouse, he said.
Repairs at the existing jail include cracks in shower stall floors.
"The state has written us up for it just about every inspection that we have had," Pierce said. "We have some locks in disrepair. We haven't been able to use some of the cells because of the broken locks.
"Those are things we will be working on. You can't access those areas with inmates being there."
Eventually inmates scattered about in other jails because of overcrowding at the current facility will be brought back into the county.
The repairs will influence the speed of those moves as well, he said.
"It (new jail) will cut down tremendously on our transportation -- carrying people to and from court and things of that nature," Pierce said.
Pierce said it is difficult to determine the cost and amount of time spent moving those inmate back and forward from out-of-county jails.
"It is totally dependent on the court system and what the needs are for brining them back for their court appearance and things of those nature," he said. "Of course we are looking forward to having some extra space to house these folks.
"At this time we have over 60 people farmed out to other facilities, and that is costing the taxpayer a tremendous amount of money. So we so we hope to get them back into Wayne County as soon as possible. But again, it is contingent on getting the repairs done in the old facility before we start bringing everyone back -- repairs that have been needing to be done for a long time."
The overcrowding problem will not be solve immediately, but more likely over a period of two to six months, Pierce said.
Once occupied, the county is expecting to eliminate the nearly $1 million it is now paying annually to house inmates in other county jails because of chronic overcrowding at the existing jail downtown.
With the new jail, the county anticipates having extra space that it can rent to other counties.
The jail has three dorm-style wings, each capable of housing 64 inmates, and one wing of 15 double cells.
There are two control rooms, each able to monitor two wings with utility runs located behind each of the wings.
That allows work to be done without coming in contact with an inmate, and there is no concern about having tools.
Also, water flow in the lavatories and toilets can be shut off from the control rooms so that inmates cannot cause them to overflow.
Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. built the 38,500-square-foot, single-story, 218-bed jail located on county-owned property on North William Street.
A full kitchen was not included in the plans because of a future plan to build a larger jail on the same site and that would include a kitchen large enough to accommodate both facilities.
The county is paying cash for the jail that is the first phase of a larger envisioned judicial center that includes construction of a larger jail that will be connected to the satellite jail through a secure corridor.
No money has been earmarked, nor timetable established, for that project.