Indianapolis Breaks Ground on Robust New Criminal Justice Center

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.