Last updated: December 23. 2013 5:00PM - 1110 Views
Taylor Pardue Staff Reporter

Gone are the days of face to face meetings with reinforced glass and a telephone. Prisoners will now see their loved ones through television screens, meaning the inmates never have to leave their cells to have visitors.
Gone are the days of face to face meetings with reinforced glass and a telephone. Prisoners will now see their loved ones through television screens, meaning the inmates never have to leave their cells to have visitors.
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YADKINVILLE — Yadkin County’s new jail has been a long time in the works, but is officially complete with the ribbon cutting ceremony Dec. 17.

The public was invited to tour the detention center Tuesday after the ceremony, and again Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Many in the county turned out to take the Yadkin Sheriff’s Office up on the offer, including 150 local students who were brought for a visit Friday morning before leaving for Christmas break.

The new $6.6 million facility sports a new design and new technology over the former jailhouse — starting as soon as a visitor enters the front door.

Intercoms allow a visitor to buzz the main office, but no one enters without explicit access. Officials can unlock the doors themselves via a sensor-pad with a special key, but the average person has to be let in by a detention officer.

Inside the main door is as far as many visitors make it in the new jail set-up. To the left of the main door is a room equipped with computer screens and telephones. The visitors are patched through to the inmate to whom they wish to speak.

The inmate remains in the new cell block, or pod as the detention officers call them. The inmate speaks to their family or friends without leaving the block, allowing the center to remain secure and eliminate the need for inmates moving around the building excessively.

A new magistrate’s office is located to the right of the main door. The office allows the magistrate to be present at the jail when an inmate arrives instead of the prisoner being brought before them at the courthouse and then moved to the prison.

The magistrates will still use the courthouse office during the day, but at night the officials will all be located under the jail roof.

The green bay doors at the front of the building allow vehicles to park inside the building during inclement weather. Inmates will be transported safely into and out of the vehicles — all while inside the prison.

Just inside the bay area is a detention officer’s desk and beyond that a holding cell area. Several holding cells are present for inmates to be kept in while their information is entered into the jail’s database.

Included in the holding area are two new features for Yadkin’s jail — a restraint chair and a padded holding cell.

The two operate as the names imply. The restraint chair is fastened to the floor and is made up of various straps meant to secure an inmate who is violent. They are restrained in the chair until they stop posing a threat.

The padded room is for suicidal or drug-fueled inmates who pose a threat to themselves. The room is coated in a special padding that prevents inmates from hitting their heads against the walls like a normal cell.

Exiting this room leads to a hallway running left or right.

Left leads west to the old jail building, which is now attached to the main jail by a corridor. Female inmates will be housed in the old 29-bed facility.

Right leads to the new pods, 72 beds for male inmates, and the jail’s command and control center.

The central control room over looks five separate areas — three pods and two extra, empty rooms. The pods are shaped like triangles extending away from the main control room, with the narrow point toward the control room.

From the central room an officer can monitor all three pods and every camera in the building. The officer also can unlock doors remotely to the cells.

One of the two extra rooms is used by detectives to speak to prisoners. The other is being considered for a recreation room.

Prisoners are grouped into one of the three pods. Dangerous inmates are grouped together, more manageable inmates in another, and non-threatening inmates in the third. An officer walks the pods and monitors the inmates’ behavior.

Inmates are allowed to watch a flat-screen television for a few hours a day with a few channels available. They are unlocked for several hours each day to gather in the common area and play cards or games at the metal tables.

Twelve cells are located on the ground level and 12 more above them. A shower is situated on the bottom floor to the right in each pod.

Each cell houses two inmates. The cells are equipped with an intercom in case the inmates need to talk to the detention officers.

Inmates have not been transferred to the jail yet, as training for the officers and tours for the public are ongoing.

Sheriff Ricky Oliver said training will continue into the new year with other local police and emergency departments. He expects the detention center to be housing inmates by the end of January.

Times for touring the prison are still available. The detention center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 30-31, and again Jan. 2-3.

The sheriff’s office is requesting groups of 20 or more call ahead to give officials advance notice. The office can be reached at 336-679-4217.

Reach Taylor Pardue at 835-1513 or at tpardue@civitasmedia.com.

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