Marion County announces plan to build new criminal justice complex

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Under a plan announced by city and court officials Wednesday, Marion County’s courts, jails and other offices would be located in one complex instead of spread out around downtown Indianapolis and the county.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Marion Superior Judge David Certo and Marion County Sheriff John Layton announced the plans, which have been decades in the making. Ballard said the modern facility will improve public safety and generate enough efficiencies to pay for the new complex without a tax increase.

Right now, the criminal justice support facilities are spread throughout Indianapolis, with some facilities miles apart. The process after a person is arrested in Marion county requires multiple transfers to different buildings, which officials says is time consuming and expensive. The new design would streamline that process and eliminate hazards such as radio dead zones and blind spots, making the facilities safer. Staff, visitors and litigants currently share space with violent offenders.

“Our mission in the Marion Superior Court compels us to provide an appropriate, safe and accessible setting for litigants and the public,” Certo said. “The outdated layout of our current facilities prevents us from meeting these goals with our courtrooms, offices, and public spaces. I enthusiastically support this long overdue effort to create a new and safer court facility.”

The complex would house separate adult and juvenile jails along with inmate processing, detention and criminal court facilities. The offices of the prosecutor, public defender, probation and community corrections would also be in the complex. The clerk, coroner, crime lab and other state and federal agencies could follow.

The plan calls for the new judicial center to include space for 25 to 30 courtrooms, which would provide relief for the nearly 40 Circuit and Superior courts now housed in the City-County Building.

No location has been determined yet and officials will begin evaluating proposals in February 2014 with final section by September. The goal is for construction to begin in 2015 with a projected opening date of 2018.

By combining the facilities and offices in one area, the buildings will use shared resources such as food preparation and maintenance services. Transportation costs will also be reduced as moving inmates through the current system adds tens of thousands of dollars in additional security costs.

The county expects these cost savings as well as the reallocation of budget dollars from current contracts and leases that are set to expire, and private retail rental on the new property, to pay for the project.

The city also sees development potential for the land where Jail 1, Jail 2 and the Community Corrections facilities sit in downtown Indianapolis. That land was recently valued at $17.6 million.  


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.