Dakota County, Mn., dedicated a $10.3 million, 24,400-square-foot addition to its jail yesterday, the first phase of a three-tiered expansion that will continue through 2030, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. A new intake building includes modern flourishes aimed at making the workspace safer and more hospitable for correctional deputies. That includes separate entrances for booking and releasing inmates and a column-free design that allows sweeping views of the intake floor from almost any vantage point.
The jail, perpetually filled to its 245-bed capacity, will gain 25 beds. If $10.3 million sounds like a lot of money for roughly two dozen beds and booking space, it should, said County Commissioner Joseph Harris. He emphasized that the county was building with the future in mind. The site is designed for the easy addition of new inmate cell buildings, with the goal of more than tripling the number of beds to 850 in the next 23 years. The forward-looking approach caught the attention of the National Association of Counties, which recognized Dakota County this year for its law enforcement plan.