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July 30, 2014

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Expansion will nearly double size of Henderson jail

City hopes housing inmates from other jurisdictions will make it money

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers welcomes guests to the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Henderson Detention Center Wednesday.

Henderson Detention Center Addition

Prior to the ceremonious turning of dirt, Tony Ewalt of Sletten Construction speaks Wednesday during  the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Henderson Detention Center. Launch slideshow »

Henderson Detention Center

The city of Henderson broke ground Wednesday morning on an addition to its detention center that will nearly double the number of beds available for inmates.

The $29 million addition is expected to make money for the city in the long run, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said. He said the project would help Southern Nevada deal with any overflow of inmates.

“Which we will gladly take, and gladly charge them,” Hafen said.

The current Henderson Detention Center, at 243 South Water St., was built in 1994 and has 293 beds. The addition will bring the number of beds to 543.

Todd Rasmussen, of the Henderson Police Department, said the addition is expected to bring the city about $6 million each year after it’s built. The money will be placed into the city’s general fund.

The project will take about 1 ½ years to complete. Planning for the addition has been going on for about five years.

Henderson rents rooms to inmates who don’t fit into other detention centers, Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers said. The Henderson Detention Center houses inmates who were arrested by Henderson Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, Metro Police and the Boulder City Police Department.

The going rate for a bed is about $100 per night, Chambers said – money that other jurisdictions will pay to Henderson for the city to house its inmates.

Metro Police spokesman Bill Cassell said this afternoon there currently are 28 inmates held in Henderson who couldn't be held in Metro's facilities.

There are 46 others being tried in Clark County who are in Henderson's detention center on remand -- meaning they were held in Henderson at the time their case was transferred to Clark County District Court, and were left there.

In both cases (remand and overflow), Metro pays the approximately $100 nightly fee.

"Any time there is additional bed space available, it is a plus," Cassell said. "We never know when there's going to be some sort of problem," he said, such as a fire or a power outage, which would cause inmates to need to move from one location to another.

Because Boulder City doesn’t have its own detention center, Henderson also houses its inmates. Boulder City Police Chief Tom Finn said his inmates have never been turned away from the Henderson facility.

Chambers said the city hopes to add the space now to meet demand before it becomes a problem in the future. On the rainy Wednesday morning, she likened it to water in the desert – it doesn’t become a problem until it is truly scarce, she said.

“The criminal justice system always needs bed space,” she said. “We’re trying to get out ahead of the curve.”

Regular rooms in the new area will be 12-feet by 7-feet, with handicap rooms measuring 12-feet by 7.5-feet. Each regular room will have two beds, set up as bunks, a toilet, sink and a small table.

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