Jail Update

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

The Winnebago County Jail is going to be one of the most up to date and modern facilities we have in downtown Rockford. In 2002, we all decided to help fund the jail with a one cent sales tax. So the fact that this project is three months ahead of schedule is not only proof of where our money is going but its proof that Mother Nature is on our side.

A mild winter has helped to speed along construction on this $140 million jail project. Before the cold snap or any snow workers were able to enclose the front of the building. Behind the glass you will find four courtrooms and administration offices. What's different about the new jail from the current jail is the lay-out. The old jail is one dimensional but the new jail has several layers and each level is built around blocks of cells that contain 56 inmates.

Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department Richard Meyers says "We've done a lot to reduce personnel costs to make building function by designing it properly and coming up with operational plan that minimizes movement of prisoners which affects number of staff we have to hire."

A large amount of staff will still be needed but it will take about 40% less staff without a linear design. Meyers said, "We're shutting down satellite facility which will save $1.2 million a year in operating costs."

When the facility opens in the spring of 2007 the jail can house 1,212 inmates. The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department plans on being the first to move in and with so much progress that is going to happen by the end of the year. When all the inmates move then the Rockford Police Department will remodel that space to fit their needs.


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