Detroit Ponders $400 Million “Justice Campus”


The east side of downtown Detroit could undergo a profound makeover in a proposal to redevelop the sites of several criminal justice facilities, says the Detroit Free Press. An old jail and police headquarters would be razed or redeveloped, and downtown courts, jails, and police and sheriff’s headquarters would be rebuilt in a massive criminal justice campus. The development could cost $400 million. The site is close to Greektown, Comerica Park, Ford Field, several theaters, expressway exits, and the future site of the permanent Greektown Casino.

Several trends are pushing the new idea forward. Detroit is under a federally mandated consent decree to improve conditions in its police lockups. The city’s existing police headquarters is operationally out of date. Advances in videoconferencing now make it possible for prisoners arrested in Wayne County to be held downtown at a central facility and arraigned by video before a judge based in the suburbs, instead of being sent first to a suburban jail, arraigned, then sent downtown.


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