Safer booking areas.
Enough space for inmates.
Locker rooms for officers.
A real laundry facility.
Those are just a few of the improvements DeKalb County Corrections Chief Joyce Klein says her employees have been waiting decades to see. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies occurred Thursday, and tours of the new facility continue through the weekend.
DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott held up a brightly-colored packet as he spoke to the crowd gathered at the steps leading to the new building. He said it was a 1990 report he had found in his office. It was the first that showed the need to expand the county's new jail, which was built in 1980 and was already full. Now -- 28 years later -- he was happy to be there for the ribbon-cutting.
Scott said that, while a jail might not feel like something that should be celebrated, he was pleased that the county had moved forward in fulfilling one of its most important duties: serving and protecting the community. He was also proud of the design, which will help his department work better with inmates with mental health issues.
Ground was broken for the new $35 million jail two years ago. Much of the cost is being covered by tipping fees charged to waste haulers using Waste Management's landfill near Cortland. Waste Management was allowed to increase its intake at the landfill by 500 tons per day to help pay for the jail expansion.
The county offered public tours of the jail expansion before any inmates move in, which is expected in July. The facility is located at 180 E. Exchange St. in Sycamore.
Photo essay by WNIJ's Victoria Lunacek