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New Washington County Detention Center To Begin Housing Inmates
Updated October 14, 2014 10:18 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(SALEM) - The new Washington County Detention Center will begin housing inmates soon.

Sheriff Claude Combs says a few inmates will be moved to the jail this week for a test run.

To date, just over $9 million has been spent on the new jail. That's good news for Superior Court Judge Frank Newkirk - there is about $1.5 million left over from the jail that could help expand the tight quarters of the courtroom.

Individual cells are located around the perimeter of the new jail with a command center in the middle -- an elevated room, from which jail personnel can see every pod and every cell. Security cameras, some 58 of them, will assist jail personnel with keeping an eye on the prison population. The control center will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"You won't move anywhere in here where you won't be watched," says Sheriff Claude Combs.

The pre-fabricated cells, complete with built in fixtures such as beds, were made at a plant in Georgia and trucked to the site. There are two-, four- and eight-person cells, grouped in clusters or pods. Each pod has a common area.
The cells are made of steel, similar to what is used on battleships.

One cell in each block is handicapped accessible.

A maintenance corridor runs behind the cells; workers can access plumbing and electrical systems without actually entering the cell.

The addition is equipped with a backup generator in the event of a power outage; a battery provides power for the few minutes it takes for the generator to kick in.

The old jail dates to 1986 and was designed for a population of 56. These days, the population runs from the mid-80s to the high 90s hence the need for the new facility which can house 204 and includes a new kitchen and laundry area.

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