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Franklin County Set To Break Ground On New Jail

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The new Franklin County jail will house just under 900 inmates, and will be located near the police training facility.

Franklin County is breaking ground on a new jail Monday. The Franklin County Corrections Center will be situated on the Fisher Road west of downtown Columbus.

The first phase of the project costs $175 million and will open in late 2019. It will replace the current downtown jail facility. Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown says the need for a new facility becomes clear when you look at the two jails the County currently maintains.

“They’re old and they’re not really well equipped to deal with justice reform issues and rehabilitation, they’re just detention areas,” Brown said.

Aiming to reduce recidivism, the new jail will have more space for rehabilitation programming, plus mental health and addiction services. It will have an open layout so that guards can regularly interact with inmates. Brown believes the facility will last 50 years or more.

"The need that we had was really because the two facilities we have are so old and outdated and not--they've been used beyond their life," she said.

The county's current main facility, the Jackson Pike jail, isn't setup to incorporate recidivism-curbing programming, Brown said. 

"It's crowded and there's not a lot of room for training in that facility," she said. "In the downtown facility there's zero room for this training to happen."

The 345,000-square-foot facility will have house just under 900 inmates but can expand to hold 2,800.

The new jail will take a more modern approach, with a podular-designed direct supervision model.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.