It’s not often that scores of folks willingly go to jail, but that was the case in Logan County last week.
Of course they were there to tour the new facility and likely will be in no hurry to be back behind its bars.
About 300 people took the Logan County Sheriff’s Department up on a chance to get a peak at the facility located on Lowder Street in Paris.
The number surprised, and pleased Logan County Sheriff Jason Massey.
“I never thought we’d get that many,” he said.
Tours of the facility were available in advance of today’s 10 a.m. dedication ceremony at the 100-bed jail that will be replacing the current Logan County Detention Center, located on Grober Street in Paris.
That facility was built in the 1980s and has repeatedly been found in violation of jail standards, prompting former Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks and County Judge Ray Gack to push for the new jail — Hicks’ predecessor Steve Smith had also expressed a desire for a new jail.
Massey said following the dedication the sheriff’s office staff will be trained on the aspects of the facility to become as comfortable with the building as possible before the first prisoners are moved into the cells.
Once that happens, Massey said recently, an assessment of manpower will be taken to determine if, or how many detention officers are needed.
The Logan County Quorum Court last week approved the addition of a jailer/detention officer and a maintenance person.
Besides serving as a detention center for prisoners, the new jail also includes offices for the Logan County Sheriff’s Department and a courtroom, which is anticipated will greatly curtail the need to transport prisoners to the Logan County Courthouses in Booneville and Paris.
Additionally, the building features a training room, which is named for the late Rick Lowe and is complete with a smart board, which will allow the department to take care of multiple training needs on site.
The jail was built after county voters passed a pair of half cent sales taxes in July of 2016 — collection actually began on Jan. 1 of 2017 — to construct and maintain the jail. Logan County issued $12.1 million in bonds to build the jail.
The first bonds were sold in November of 2017 and site preparation began shortly afterward and a symbolic groundbreaking was held three days before Christmas that year.
One of the half cent taxes is to be repealed when construction costs have been covered. Through April, each of the taxes has taken in more than $2.4 million.