First look inside the new Minnehaha County Jail addition

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 5:46 PM CDT
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Work on the new addition to the Minnehaha County Jail is in its final stages.

The two-year construction project is set to open in August.

The new space means Minnehaha County Jail now has room for nearly 750 beds.

Jail officials say they toured many other facilities around the region, which ultimately helped them create the best facility possible.

Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Jeff Gromer said, “It’s nice to see what other people in a similar industry are doing, and you pick up some things that you say ‘oh that’s a great idea I hadn’t thought of that, let’s do that’ or you see some other things that ‘I don’t really like that, that’s not going to fit very well in our system.’”

The new facility has the capability for more laundry, medical space, and a key improvement is a more efficient booking system.

Gromer added, “That’s where a lot of the volume comes in and that’s where a lot of the processes take place, and that’s where a lot of the activity occurs in a jail setting. To process all of those people into and out of the jail, and that’s where we are really going to see the benefits of this facility is with that booking area.”

The booking area is designed for a one-way flow of traffic and even has a shower for inmates to clean themselves.

Another important aspect is inmates can now attend court without leaving the new facility. In the old jail, inmates are transported in and out of the facility for court hearings.

"Not having to move them outside of the jail is a huge benefit from a staffing standpoint and just the logistics of making that move with all of those people, and a security standpoint for both the jail and the courthouse,” said Gromer.

The courtroom can also have virtual hearings.

The new addition is set to open August 1st, with safety being its top priority.

Minnehaha County Commission Chair Jean Bender said, “I think that when you tour this building you see that all of the improvements that we made are for the safety of not only the citizens but of the staff that works here and for the people who end up staying here.”

The Minnehaha Sheriff’s Department says that the jail was built where they can add two more floors on top of the building if they feel the need to in the future.

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