By Roxanne Squires
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — The public will now be able to tour the brand-new Becker County Jail now that the replacement facility has reached completion.
The project, which broke ground August 2017 and wrapped up December 2018, was prompted to create greater efficiencies for correctional staff and expanded capacity for inmates.
The $21 million facility will house approximately 180 inmates with Minnesota-based general contractor McGough Construction, Klein McCarthy Architects, and Paulson and Clarkson Engineering as the design team, arranging the new facility’s layout as a two-level pod design.
The north end of the pod holds jail cells grouped into six separate pods, allowing separation of various classifications of inmates, which can all be seen by the central control area.
Ballistic-built glass of the central control area secures an unobstructed view of the entire facility, ensuring safety for both guards and inmates alike.
The larger pods will be used for the general population, including the largest pod holding 56 beds with a correctional officer positioned inside, whereas the smaller pods will be used for inmates that require more supervision.
Lastly, there will be about a dozen cells designed to hold disabled inmates. Other parts of the jail will hold dormitory-style sleeping rooms and large day rooms for the minimum-security work-release crew, as reported by Detroit Lakes Online, a local news outlet.
For further security, the design also allows plumbers and electricians to work on cells from a rear service passage, rather than entering the cells as they do currently.
Inmates will have access to a gym on the north side of the facility, where large windows will bring in natural daylight.
Opportunities for inmates to pursue their GED and other tests will continue as well, with the facility also including a classroom/training room with four computer stations.
It also features a large passageway for inmate transportation, a booking area, a medical area, staff rooms, inmate training areas, a food service area and a large second-floor mechanical penthouse, containing water heaters, natural gas boilers and air-exchange units for heating and cooling.
Approximately 200 cameras will help officers keep an eye on inmates in addition to door alarms and motion sensors. Vent security devices called “burglar bars” will prevent inmates from escaping through the duct work, while utility corridors will run behind the cells for the safety and convenience of workers.
With these security features, the new facility is being highly noted as being safer for the working correctional officers.
An open house of the new facility will be held on Feb. 19, 2019 for the public to view.