Anoka County has proposed to build a new Anoka County jail off Jackson Street and 4th Avenue. The current jail in downtown Anoka was built in 1983 and was originally designed for 130 inmates. Photos shared with CTN from inside the jail show substandard conditions. There are inmates sleeping in beds in hallways, due to overcrowding. And the building has suffered water damage, repeatedly, caused by leaks.
According to Anoka County Sheriff Brad Wise, the jail needs to be rebuilt where it's at. "And the current government center, courthouse, everything, all the county functions that are related to public safety or at least related to the jail are on 4th Avenue at Main Street, that big complex center," Wise said.
State statutes require that the county jail be located in the county seat - which is the city of Anoka. A second site at the old State Hospital campus on 4th Avenue was also considered. However, the costs were much more than the projected $190 million to rebuild a new jail near the existing one.
"So the current plan is that the current parking ramp that has some structural issues would be torn down and that the new jail facility would be built on that location,” Wise said.
None of the plans are finalized yet. The Anoka County Board is waiting on approval of the location from the Anoka City Council before they can move forward with the project.