The vision for what a new Lewis and Clark County detention center would look like is coming into greater focus with more detailed plans, although the design is not yet finalized.
Scott Cromwell, the principal architect with Slate Architecture, which won the county contract to design the facility, unveiled a revised plan for the building on Wednesday.
However, others who will provide services, such as for mental health programs and custodial services, have yet to comment on the preliminary design.
Jenny Kaleczyc, the regional deputy public defender for this area, attended the presentation at the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee meeting and said the three rooms proposed for use by public defenders was not enough.
Overcrowding at the current facility is driving the discussion and planning for a new detention center. When the detention center opened in 1985, it had beds for 54 inmates, although it functioned best when not all were filled so there is room for each day’s arrests.
Additional beds were welded in place to increase the capacity to 70. Overflow inmates are being housed in contract jails in other counties at the rate of $65 a day.
The current design for the building, which would contain space for the sheriff’s office as well as administrative and other offices, proposes being able to initially house 252 inmates with room to add more “pods” inside the building that would increase the capacity to a total of 344.
Slate Architecture’s design team includes the Goldberg Group Architects of St. Joseph, Missouri, which specializes in designing criminal justice facilities.