INDIANAPOLIS — The Marion County Sheriff's Office has begun moving inmates to the new jail at the Community Justice Campus.
As hundreds of inmates were transferred into the new $560 million Community Justice Center campus, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal is hopeful it's a new beginning for inmates and staff.
"At some point sometimes, we had five different jails scattered across the city. It'll be here," Forestal said.
He said conditions weren't suitable inside the aging jails that were built in the 1960s.
"Presently, in the City-County Building, you'll see people chained and walking with the public," Forestal said. "That doesn't happen when this opens up."
The new jail focuses on mental and physical health services for inmates with 32 hospital beds, a state-of-the-art infirmary and dental rooms.
There are 60 video courts. Previous Marion County jails only had six combined.
The sheriff said modern technology will also help them overcome staffing shortages.
"We provided a lot of medical care. Every time, we had to take somebody, we took them to Eskenazi Hospital," Forestal said. "That's manpower-intensive. That was somebody to guard somebody."
Deputy Chief Tanesha Krear said new jail opening comes with enhanced safety, quality of life and livable conditions.
"In Marion County Jail 1, a lot of our processes were paper things," Krear said. "Here as far as medical requests, to see our chaplain, it can be done through our tablets, which is responsible for a more efficient and quicker response."
Overcrowding, however, is expected to remain an issue.
"The population is not going to be a lot of difference," Forestal said. "People can't arrest everyone they want arrested. ... One of the problems we have here is too many people here for mental health problems."
The sheriff's office expects to have all inmates transferred to the new jail by the middle of February.
Officials have not released future plans for the old jails.