Illinois News

New Adams County Jail expected to open early next year

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 18, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Aug. 18, 2019 12:26 am

QUINCY -- Completion of the new Adams County Jail is delayed four to six weeks, but Sid Wilson isn't concerned about the delay as work continues to move forward.

With significant technological improvements over the current facility, the project manager for the new facility said there is extensive electrical work for the new jail.

"There are so many different systems in there -- security, every door in there is electronic -- it's just a beehive of fiber and electrical, and security cameras," Wilson said.

"It's pretty overwhelming. It's not a holdup. It's just a lot of work."

A look in at one of the six information technology rooms shows hundreds of cables being prepared for installation.

It will likely be January or February before the facility is inspected by the state and approved for operation, though a temporary occupancy permit could be obtained for the Adams County Sheriff's Department and the Quincy Police Department space.

"The actual second floor, which is the QPD and Sheriff's Department, they're really close to being on schedule," Wilson said.

The nearly $32 million facility will have 75,000 square feet and able to house about 190 inmates over one floor and a mezzanine level. The current facility, which is spread over three floors of the Adams County Courthouse, has a capacity of about 120.

Wilson said with recent change orders for the project, which he believes the county will be reimbursed, the project should be between $300,000 and $400,000 under contracted budget. The project is being funded by a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters and $4.2 million from the city of Quincy.

Jail Administrator Chad Downs and correctional officers are ready for the new facility to open, because the new facility will be across one floor, reduce blind spots, add security cameras and have a sally port for the secure intake of inmates.

"Pretty much there will not be a blind spot in the whole facility, because there's 192 cameras in the facility, compared to I think we have 16 now," Downs said. "It will be a high-quality top-of-the-line camera system."

Downs has been at Adams County Jail for 22 years, and he said it will be a culture shock for him and others.

"It's something that's been needed for years," he said. "I'm excited, and I know my staff is."

The addition of the sally port is expected to greatly improve safety when bringing inmates into the jail. Now, they are brought into the jail outdoors and must be brought up to the fourth floor, which is unreachable by elevator, meaning there are times jailers must carry someone up a flight of stairs.

"(In the future), it will be door opens, door closes, and they come in and nobody else is in here," Downs said. "We can safely transport them in here."

From there, they can enter the booking area, where there will be cells available to hold those waiting for intake.

The eight pods will allow the jailers to classify prisoners and keep them separated as need be. Jailers will observe pods from control rooms where they can control lights, doors, TVs and phones through a touchscreen.

General population areas will have a multi-purpose room where classes and support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, could meet.

There are also two eight-bunk cells strictly for those on work release.

As construction continues, procedures are being developed for the operation of the new jail.

"We won't move in until we're 100% confident that all the officers are comfortable with the new systems," Downs said. "Until the actual equipment gets installed, we can't do any kind of training."

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