Borrowed from the Real Cost of Prisons:
November 02, 2010
$72 million county jail to open with 688 "beds"
"The new jail will have space for 688 beds to begin with, including an incomplete pod that would allow expansion t o 850 beds. Construction of that section, if needed, would take about six months. The jail also could be expanded further to almost 1,400 beds. The jail also will be able to house 144 female adults. The current jail has space for 80 women.""Sheahan said a few televisions may be placed in the day room in the minimum level pods. Unlike jail life portrayed in movies, inmates will not have cigarettes, coffee, recreation equipment or access to basketball courts. Food will be brought to inmates in their cells on trays. Inmates also may be able to work in the kitchen or laundry facility."
$72 million county jail to open next monthBy JIM SECKLER/The Mohave Daily NewsPublished:
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
KINGMAN — Mohave County inmates will get a radically different and very stark home next month when they are soon transferred to the new county jail.
Sheriff Tom Sheahan and Jail Commander Bruce Brown gave media from the Tri-state a tour of the new jail Thursday, which is expected to open in about a month. Once completed, the sheriff’s office expects to transfer all its inmates to the new facility within 24 hours. No official opening date was given. The existing jail and a jail annex will then be closed, Sheahan said.
Sheahan gave a brief history of the existing jail, which opened in 1986 after the federal government forced the county to build the jail because of a lawsuit by inmates two years earlier. The existing jail is suppose to house a maximum of 200 inmates but usually holds twice that many on any given day. The sheriff also said almost on a daily occurrence some mechanical equipment, whether air conditioning, heating, plumbing or electronics, breaks down at the current jail.
The new jail will have space for 688 beds to begin with, including an incomplete pod that would allow expansion t o 850 beds. Construction of that section, if needed, would take about six months. The jail also could be expanded further to almost 1,400 beds. The jail also will be able to house 144 female adults. The current jail has space for 80 women.
The new $72 million, 242,000-square-foot jail county jail in Kingman just off Interstate 40 is being built on a 19-acre county-owned site across a ravine from the county administration building. The jail is a design-build project where the county would lease the jail back at a low rate until it owns it, similar to financing the administration building.
Sheahan said the state-of-the-art county jail will house all levels of inmates who await their court cases being resolved whether they are sexual predators, murderers or kidnappers and the jail needs to be as safe and secure as a state prison. About 208 cameras are scattered throughout the new jail monitoring every square inch of the jail 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The goal is to minimize the movement of inmates,” Brown said. “Less movement means less chance of escape and less chance of assaults.”
Visiting family members or attorneys will not have physical contact of any kind with the inmates. Rooms will be available for family members or attorneys to speak by video to the inmates. Even in A-pod, which will house the most serious criminals, contact with other inmates is limited if not eliminated. Alleged sex offenders will be placed in a special management area, separate from the rest of the inmates.
Problems that have plagued the existing jail will not happen in the new jail such as breaking off sprinkler heads, which will be impossible to do. Inmates who try to flush the toilet more than three times in an attempt to flood the cell will see the water automatically turned off, Brown said.
A-pod inmates will sit in their 70-square-foot cell 23 hours a day with one hour out alone in the day room. As in any cell, there is no Internet service and no television. Entrance into A-pod cells is through sliding doors for officer safety compared to doors that swing out in other pods. There are 40 single-bed A-pod cells, Brown said.
Sheahan said a few televisions may be placed in the day room in the minimum level pods. Unlike jail life portrayed in movies, inmates will not have cigarettes, coffee, recreation equipment or access to basketball courts. Food will be brought to inmates in their cells on trays. Inmates also may be able to work in the kitchen or laundry facility.
The new jail also will be able to house 24 juveniles, charged as adults with crimes ranging from sexual assault, murder or other serious crimes. Twelve cells will be available for boys and 12 cells are for girls. The juvenile section will have also a classroom for juveniles to finish high school. Juveniles 14 to 17 years old will be housed in that area and once they turn 18, are reassigned to the adult section.
The brains of the new computerized jail will be a central control room where guards can monitor every camera and record everything almost endlessly on 14 digital video recorders. Even access to elevators will be controlled. Inmates will be housed in only three of the six floors.
A medical section will allow inmates to be treated for most injuries reducing the number of trips to a hospital. There also are two empty padded cells or rooms where a mentally ill inmate cannot hurt themselves or others. There are even ventilated-controlled rooms for inmates with a communicable disease.
Sheahan said once the new jail is built, one option may be to use the existing jail as a temporary holding cell for inmates who have court hearings that day making one trip in the morning and one in the afternoon depending on a judge’s calendar. Video hearings also could be used in some court hearings. A courtroom for a visiting judge also is available at the new jail if needed.
Currently, staffing for the existing nearly 30-year county jail is about 38 corrections officers, 11 officer assistants and one detention supervisor. The new jail will have 105 corrections officers and 38 support staff. Corrections officers in the A-pod will have more training to deal with the more serious level inmates.
Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...
This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.
Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.
Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.
I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.
In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.
I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.
I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281. firstname.lastname@example.org
until all are free -
MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)
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