Link to Tri-County
MADISON COUNTY JAIL CLOSED
The End of
The opening of the
Tri-County Regional Jail on December 08, 2000 marked the end of an era in
Madison County. Since the county
was organized in the early 1800’s, the county jail was always located adjacent
to the county courthouse. Two
previous courthouses had come and gone by 1890, both lost by fire.
In 1890 a new fireproof courthouse and Sheriff’s Office was opened at the
corner of Main St. and High St. in London.
The Sheriff’s Office building was built on the South-East corner of the
courthouse square. The two-story
building was separated into two sections.
One section comprised the county jail.
This wing held both male and female prisoners, as well as juvenile
offenders. The other wing consisted of the Sheriff’s residence.
It was a common practice in Ohio for the Sheriff to live at the jail.
This was so the prisoners would not be left unattended in the days when a
county might only have one or two deputies.
The Sheriff’s wife usually acted as the jail cook and
matron for women prisoners. This
practice continued in the smaller counties as late as the late 1980’s, early
1990’s, but is for the most part now a historical side note in the Ohio
The Madison County Sheriff moved out of the residence in the early 1980’s
and the residence became offices for the county prosecutor and Sheriff’s
Once two-way radio came to Madison County, a small base station was placed in
an office between the two
sections of the Sheriff’s Office.
By now a Deputy Sheriff was generally assigned to “sit desk”.
When deputies sat the desk they ran the jail, monitored the radio and
answered the telephones. When a
call for service came in, the deputy would tell the Sheriff he was leaving and
take the call. Incoming calls would
be transferred to the residence side and the Sheriff or his wife would answer
the phone and watch the jail.
In 1976, a new wing was added to the Sheriff’s Office.
A new administrative
office and hallway cellblock was added.
The administrative office moved out of the Courthouse and the entire Sheriff’s
Office was now comprised in one building.
A new jail office and communications center were placed in the new section, but
the jail deputy was generally still responsible for jail and radio.
dispatcher’s were soon hired and the communications center moved out of the jail
office. The jail deputy was
relieved of dispatching duties, except to serve as a back-up when the dispatcher
needed a break or assistance.
The hallway cellblock increased the jail
capacity to 26 adults. The two 1890 era cellblocks, however, were growing too small
by 1990. New jail
required much more space, corrections staff and programs that the old jail was
not able to provide. By the mid
1990’s, the average daily population was 31.
The cell blocks were cramped, offered little room for expansion and were
poorly ventilated. In response to
this need, Madison County officials began searching for an answer.
That answer came when Madison, Union, and Champaign County pooled
their funds and built a regional three-county jail in Mechanicsburg in Champaign
County. This new jail is larger,
offers room for expansion, and is capable of delivering more court-ordered
services to inmates. The end came
on December 08, 2000 when Madison County jail deputies transported two convoys
of inmates to the new facility.
(Juvenile offenders had been moved out in the 1980’s when state law required
juveniles to be held separate from adult offenders.)
Although the jail ended on December 08, 2000, the Sheriff’s Office
Renovation is nearing completion on a three-month project to expand the
Sheriff’s Office. The 1890 cellblocks were partially torn out for file and
storage space. The communications
center, which was moved out of the jail office in 1992 was
moved back as the jail office location was larger and provided a more secure
location. The hallway cellblock was
refurbished and is used for day holding of inmates who are making court
appearances in the Courthouse.
A Court Services Office was opened in an old supply room. Projects
currently underway include a new Sheriff’s personal office and the patrol