New county jail nearly finished, Open House set for October 8th


Construction has been going on for more than a year on the new Switzerland County jail, and as the work nears completion, Switzerland County Sheriff Nathan Hughes has announced that the public is invited to attend an open house to see the new facility.

The open house will be held on Saturday, October 8th, beginning at 2 p.m. (slow time). Residents will have the chance to tour the facility, and speak with officials and employees of the new jail about all of the features in the facility.

“We are very proud of the new jail, and we hope that the people of the county like it, too,” Sheriff Hughes said. “A lot of planning and work has gone into the construction of this jail, and I believe that the people of this county should be really proud of it.”

The sheriff said that one of the aspects of the open house will be the chance for county organizations to participate and have people “arrested” and put in one of the new cells as a fundraiser for each of the organizations. Any group wanting to participate should call the sheriff at 427-3636.

After the open house is completed — there won’t be any inmates in the facility during the open house — the sheriff said that he expects to start accepting prisoners the next day, October 9th.

The state jail inspector will spend two days at the facility, October 12th-13th, to go over all of the safety features and to make sure that everything is running properly, and once he gives his final approval, the jail will be operating at full strength.

The jail itself features a lot of the latest technology, from video systems that allow inmates to talk with visitors without face-to-face contact; to a cell monitoring system that allows one jailer to monitor the entire facility from a central location.

The cells and other areas open to prisoners are nearly indestructible, cutting down on maintenance expenses; and all sorts of safe guards are in place to protect the citizens of the community.

There are areas to house general prisoners who are evaluated to be non-violent; a section to hold female prisoners; and some maximum security cells if dangerous criminals are brought here.

Perhaps the biggest plus of the new county jail here is that it will allow Switzerland County to house its own prisoners, rather than paying a per day fee to have them kept in another community. This will save the county tax money, and will also allow this county to accept prisoners from other counties — and charge them a per day rate for that service.

“We feel very strongly that we have an excellent jail that will serve the people of this county for years to come,” Sheriff Hughes said. “We invite the community to come and visit the jail during the open house and see what’s going on.”