Archive for Wednesday, August 23, 2000

About 60 inmates move into county’s new jail

August 23, 2000

The old gray cell it ain't what it used to be.

Not at the Leavenworth County Jail anyway, where Thursday afternoon, about 60 prisoners, chained together in groups of eight, walked out of a hot, dingy, dimly lit jail and entered the brightly lit, air conditioned new jail, located in the recently opened Justice Center.

For the most part, the prisoners smiled and looked cheerful as they walked toward the new building.

"They were not unhappy about the move," said Sheriff Herb Nye.

The relocation, which included tight security measures, went smoothly.

"It took about 10 minutes per prisoner for the move," Nye said. "And it took about three hours to get them settled down and to get ready to feed them the evening meal."

After inmates had been processed into the new jail, they took showers and changed into issued clothing. After that, they were locked in individual cells where they remained until midday Friday, taking meals in their cells.

Nye said all but seven of the inmates, those known to have caused trouble in jail, were let out of their cells Friday to spend time in the recreation areas of their respective pods.

The building is set up so that guards, who are stationed in a windowed office above, can look into all of the pods. There are tight security measures throughout the jail.

Sheriff Herb Nye said the new jail is a big departure from the old jail, which was built in 1938. For one thing, the new jail is air-conditioned, which helps when the temperatures rise above the 100-degree mark as they have this week. Also, it's roomier, brighter and the facility makes it much easier to watch the inmates.

The new Justice Center and jail is something county citizens can be proud of, Nye said.

"It's a fine building," Nye said. "We built the jail right and there's been a little tweaking to get things in order, but nothing has been insurmountable. Any problems that arise, we'll take care of them."

Nye said security also is a plus.

"I would never be so bold as to say this jail is escape-proof, because there's always a human factor involved," Nye said. "But we've taken every precaution to make this jail escape-proof and I'm very comfortable with the level of security that we have here."

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