Wake opening new detention center

May 4, 2012 10:50:51 AM PDT
Wake County is set to open a new detention center three miles from downtown Raleigh May 14.

Click here for a map and a list of services moving to the new facility

Wake County Clerk of Court Lorrin Freeman gave ABC11 a tour of the $150-million, 400,000 square foot center.

"What happens here in this building is the people's business. And it's a matter of public safety and making sure our community stays safe," she explained.

The facility was built 15-percent cheaper than expected because of the recession.

"This building actually came in at $30 million under projected cost," Freeman  said.

Although the new jail facilities aren't luxurious, they are touted as being better for prisoners and the staff that supervises them.

The jail space can be tripled in the future, and there's also room to grow for the other agencies it houses.

"It was a concerted effort to make this building be one that will be used for the next 50 years," Freeman offered.

There are new and expanded areas for law enforcement officers to more quickly book suspects. That will be important to even those citizens who never use the facilities but want a quick response from officers when they need help.

"We streamlined the process enough that we can get the officers back out on the street. Coming in and waiting and waiting and waiting is not what we want," explained Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

Harrison said a video visitation set up for prisoners and their families will save time and money - and pose less risk for detention officers.

He and the others who built the center said they hope it's capacity for expansion will save taxpayers even more money in the next 20-to-30 years.

"We need to look forward and that's what we did," said Harrison.

With Wake County projected to double in size by 2030 - the expansion could start real soon.

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