On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, Franklin County officials unveiled its new jail facility during a dedication ceremony in honor of the county’s longest-serving sheriff, Jim Karnes, who passed away in 2011.
The nearly complete, state-of-the-art James A. Karnes Corrections Center is scheduled to open later this year and will replace the county’s downtown jail, which was built in the 1960s. The new jail will provide 864 beds with another 426 beds as part of a second phase to be completed in 2023.
The James A. Karnes Corrections Center is located at 2551 Fisher Road.
According to a news release from the Franklin County Commissioners and Sheriff, the new facility is the product of extensive research with the National Institute of Corrections into progressive and successful jails. It features mental health and detox centers, accommodations for virtual visitation, natural lighting for inmates and deputies, and training and programming space.
The new facility will also accommodate a new model of corrections focused on Strategic Inmate Management and Direct Supervision, in which deputies share space in pods with inmates under their supervision. Each pod within this model will include attached rooms for medical exams, attorney-client meetings, and other professional visitation, as well as its own space for recreation.
Officials say the structure will provide more programming, education, and training to support inmates in a successful transition from incarceration to normal life in the community. It’s a model studies have shown improves safety for both inmates and staff, and one that focuses on rehabilitation. As County Commissioner Kevin Boyce noted:
“It’s not just a jail, it’s an investment in rehabilitation. Bettering this infrastructure first helps support those in a crisis situation, it then reduces recidivism and generates positive long-term outcomes.”
While the new Franklin County jail has yet to be opened, it’s already serving as a model for other Ohio corrections facilities. This includes Cuyahoga County, where officials have stated that they intend to mirror Franklin County’s approach and build a new facility with the latest innovations to replace its aging Justice Center in Cleveland.
Read more about the James A. Karnes Corrections Center here.