Crook County Sheriff John Gautney enthusiastically announced Tuesday that the new Crook County Jail is open for business.
He noted that county corrections and law enforcement staff moved all of the inmates from the old jail in the Prineville Police Department building across the street to the new facility at about 6 p.m. Monday evening.
"The entire process took about two hours until everyone was processed and lodged in the new facility," Gautney said in a news release. "This was a historical event for Crook County with the closing of the old facility that has been used as a jail since 1968. The new facility is a modern facility with technology to assist corrections staff with safety and security of the facility and staff, as well as the inmates."
He went on to note that the inmates housed in the old jail got to be the first in the new jail, and law enforcement staff will continue to operate with those inmates while staff adjusts to the new facility before bringing over the inmates housed in the Jefferson County Jail.
The new jail rose out of a concern about a lack of adequate local jail space, and the deteriorating condition of the jail facility. A citizen-led public safety committee spent several months in 2016 determining what the community needed in terms of jail space and how much of tax bond residents would support.
They ultimate recommended construction of a 76-bed, $17 million jail. A tax bond would cover $10 million of the cost, with the rest of it covered by Crook County and in-kind contributions from the City of Prineville.
The jail bond received 59.68 percent approval by local voters in November 2016, with 7,023 voting in favor of the bond. Construction of the new jail began toward the end of August 2017.
Local leaders held a grand opening for the jail in late June, which drew around 300 people. Those in attendance listened to multiple guest speakers and were then invited to take a self-guided tour of the new facility. In various rooms throughout the building, jail staff described different portions of the facility to visitors.
At the time, jail contractors still needed to complete some wrap-up work on the facility before administrative and corrections staff could move into the building and before the facility could begin housing inmates.
Remaining work includes replacement of glass in certain portions of the facility to ensure the building is secure enough to hold inmates, installation of a phone system for video inmate visitation, installation of a body scanner, and general finish work.
Sheriff's Office staff finally moved into the building in mid-July, making it possible to start taking inmates this past week.
"This has been long overdue for Crook County and the community should be proud of this new facility that you have provided for," Gautney concluded.
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