Wake County unveils $151M detention center
Wake County officials on Wednesday unveiled a new $151 million state-of-the-art detention center that's designed to streamline the inmate booking process and save taxpayers money.
The county had been housing inmates in a facility on Hammond Road and at the Wake County Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh, meaning many inmates had to be transported downtown for court appearances.
The new 532,147-square-foot Wake County Detention Center, which also is on Hammond Road, consolidates all of the services used for inmates into one multi-use facility, including fingerprinting, forensic laboratories, magistrate offices and medical care.
The most serious of offenders will still be housed at the Wake County Public Safety Center, but nearly 1,200 inmates will be housed at the new facility. There is room to expand over the next 40 years to house 3,500 arrestees.
Video technology will allow inmates to visit with family and friends without ever leaving their housing area. It will also enable inmates to have first court appearances from their housing areas instead of in person.
"It allows us to conduct those first appearances without ever having to transport an inmate out of the holding cell downtown to the public safety center," Wake County District Judge Robert Rader said. "It's faster. It's more efficient. It's also safer, and in the long run, it saves a lot of money."
County officials say the new facility will also streamline the booking process and get law enforcement officers back on the street faster.
"The one area of the economy that seems to improve when times are tough is crime," Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Paul Coble said. "So, we now have a new facility for those who want to partake of that side of the economy. We have a great place for them to stay."