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Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Previews New Saguaro Jail

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office gave a preview of its newest jail facility on Thursday. The Saguaro Jail will house minimum and medium custody general population inmates and is set to open in April.

The Saguaro Jail, at 28th Avenue and Watkins Street, was constructed to replace the Durango Jail and serve as the new intake, transfer and release center for the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Chief Brian Lee says the new 1,600-bed facility embraces what’s known as the Direct Supervision Model.

“There’s always an officer in the housing unit," Lee said. "They have a greater ability to be able to sense concerns, needs, friction, medical emergencies and things like that.”

The old jails were built using a pod system where inmates are only viewed every 25 minutes. Lee says the new system is safer for detention officers and inmates.

Twenty-six Valley police agencies book inmates into the county jail.

The Sheriff’s Office has between 7,500 and 8,000 people in its custody at any given time.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.