INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis city officials, including Mayor Joe Hogsett, held a ceremonial groundbreaking on July 12 for the proposed criminal justice center in the Twin Aire neighborhood.
The criminal justice center comprises a jail, courthouse, sheriff’s office, and assessment and intervention center, and is focused on diverting people from jail and furnishing them with mental health services. The new facility is scheduled to be constructed on the site of the former Citizens Energy coke plant and completed in 2021, the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) and other media outlets recently reported.
It’s unusual for any civic project to garner sweeping approval, but a $571 million justice center in Indianapolis has succeeded in uniting both sides of the aisle at a time of substantial partisan gridlock.
The Indianapolis City-County Council gave the OK to build the Indianapolis-Marion County Community Justice Campus project, which will be located in the city’s Twin Aire neighborhood. The proposal appears to be good news both for the growing needs of the justice sector and for the area of Indianapolis where the Community Justice Campus will be located.
In December 2016, Hogsett officially met with community leaders to discuss the fuller meaning of the Marion County Criminal Justice Reform Task Force’s recommendations on prompting the county and city of Indianapolis toward expanding justice administration. The mayor’s office said that the task force’s plans entailed the new facility to replace a much older edifice in downtown Indianapolis.
In January 2017, the Twin Aire neighborhood was announced as the site for the Community Justice Campus. The land purchase included about 140 acres from Citizens Energy for the new facility.
The city’s move a year later to push for the $55 million in funding would help the government purchase the land from Citizens Energy, as well as to remediate soil unfit for construction at the location. According to IBJ, $15 million is allocated for constructing the jail and courthouse so that they can be up and running while the remainder of the project is completed.
National architecture firm HOK was hired to design the 11-story project, described as “timeless and not trendy,” by the firm’s Senior Vice President Jeff Goodale.
The new facility will house 3,000 beds — and court needs out to 2040 — as well as new sheriff’s headquarters, according to Goodale. Lastly, a new Adult Intervention Center, the AIC, is being launched nearby as a diversion facility aimed at keeping more arrestees out of jail in the first place.
Look for more details on this project in the July/August issue of Correctional News.