Marion County announces plan to build new criminal justice complex

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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 “The outdated layout of our current facilities prevents us from meeting these goals with our courtrooms, offices, and public spaces.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.  


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.