Construction is finally underway for the highly anticipated McLean County Jail expansion.
The McLean County Board held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $39 million project Monday morning.
The three-story addition will have a first floor area for visitors and space on the second floor for inmates with mental health concerns.
McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said the project can set an example for the rest of Illinois.
"This will show that not only government, but social service agencies can come together and come up with a plan to make sure we do the best we can in treating those that have mental illness," said Sandage.
Sandage said the Sheriff's department is the largest mental health service provider in the county.
The project will provide an additional 80,000 square feet to the county's 225 bed facility.
Sandage said officers will have plenty of preparation to approach mentally ill inmates.
"Our officers do receive crisis-intervention training. Not only do our officers on the street receive it, but also our correctional officers and that better allows them to be able to tell when someone is having a mental health crisis and how to deal with that," said Sandage.
He said the second floor will also be a space for female inmates. The top floor will house general population inmates and could become a space for growth in the jail population.
Sandage said the new addition will allow for families to visit loved ones in jail through video instead of the much longer visitation security process.
River City Construction plans to finish the project by October of next year.
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