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New Maricopa County Jail, Intake Facility Under Construction
The county is constructing a new jail and intake facility in Phoenix.
The Maricopa County Intake, Transfer and Release facility will have 512 beds for short-term detention and 1,280 beds for longer-term incarceration. The site will also house physical and mental health facilities.
County officials said the new facility, approved in 2015 at a cost of $185 million, would help to reduce booking times for arrestees. With three onsite video courts, the county hopes to dramatically reduce transportation needs as well.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Chucri said the facility will help streamline the intake procedure at the jail.
“In some cases, it takes four to five hours to book someone,” Chucri said to a gathering of county officials at the construction site on Thursday. “That’s officers that are not on the street that are going through a very, very difficult and tiresome system because of an antiquated jail.”
The new facility near 28th Avenue and Watkins Street will replace the Durango Jail.
Sheriff Paul Penzone acknowledged the project began before his tenure but said he supported the new facility.
“Oftentimes it is how you address certain issues such as crime and dealing with those who are detained,” Penzone said. “Whether they come from a background of mental illness or drug addiction or are just violent individuals who have to be incarcerated. How we treat those that are the most difficult is a reflection of who we are and what we stand for.”
Mike Quinn has worked as an architect on the project since 2013. He said that by 2025, the county can expect an average daily population in its jails of 10,000 people.
“We’re probably going to have 120,000 bookings per year and there’s the potential for 280,000 transports,” Quinn said.
By having all of the services in one facility, Quinn said, officials expect the average length of stay for an inmate to be reduced by two days.
“We’re getting individuals in front of judges much sooner for their initial appearance,” he said. “We’re making decisions on whether they need health care sooner and we’re reducing huge numbers for transportation.”
The county said construction is scheduled to be complete by 2020.