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Councilwoman Sharon Tucker has been selected by the Allen County Democratic Party to replace late Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry

Federal status reports about Allen County Jail project signal forward movement

The Allen County Jail
Rebecca Green
/
WBOI News
The Allen County Jail

The financing is in place for the new Allen County Jail, and the inmate population has remained stable over the past few weeks.

That is according to the new filings in the federal case over conditions at the jail, a case which prompted the move to build a new $300-million dollar, 1,336-bed facility. And with this project, both sides agree another formal in-person status conference may not be necessary.

Since U.S. District Judge Damon Leichty ordered Allen County to correct issues of overcrowding, inmate safety, and understaffing at the aging jail in downtown Fort Wayne, the proposed solutions have drawn opposition from many quarters.

Activists want more money spent on alternatives to incarceration, questioning the need for a jail. The county commissioners and county council seemed often at loggerheads over funding for the project. And the new jail’s proposed location–five miles from downtown–drew fire as well.

But status reports filed by Monday afternoon’s deadline say the project appears to be moving forward.

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance has approved the funding structure, allowing the financing to be put into place. The Allen County Council has appropriated necessary money for startup costs.

The Allen County Sheriff Department reported the inmate population, while higher than desired by the court, remained lower than late last year. Court documents say staff size continues to grow.

Officials are set to break ground late this spring on the new jail.

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.