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FCN EXCLUSIVE: A look inside the new Forsyth County Jail
The booking and intake staging area at the new Forsyth County Jail contains a number of different cells, from air-filtration-isolated ones that can house someone with an airborne virus to padded cells that can hold someone who is upset or actively dangerous to themselves or others. Everything that has to do with intake surrounds the property room, which is where inmates’ belongings are held while they remain in jail. Inmates are brought into the booking room and medical clinic through different halls, depending on whether they have been checked for contraband. - photo by For the FCN

FORSYTH COUNTY — About six months after the new Forsyth County Jail opened, inmates and employees have settled in to the high-tech security facility in downtown Cumming.

The Forsyth County News recently toured the jail, which is connected via a bridge-way to the new Forsyth County Courthouse on the other side of Maple Street.

The structures, as well as two parking decks downtown, were built using the first $100 million of a 1-cent sales tax program voters approved in November 2011.

Security is an overarching theme throughout the floors and between the various rooms in the building, from booking cells to the medical clinic to the maximum security cell blocks.

“The building was designed so that there’s always a shelter in place. If something happens in pod No. 1, we can lock it down and move everyone to another one,” said Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Chuck Smith.

The Sept. 11, 2015, opening concluded a multi-year process that saw construction begin in July 2013.

Originally slated to open in April 2015, a rock deposit in nearby water and sewer lines slowed construction.

The courthouse opened in March across from the old one, which is now home to the sheriff’s office headquarters and Probate Court.

The jail opening continued to be pushed back in order to complete training for the staff at the new facilities and transporting equipment and inmates.

The 608-inmate-capacity jail was built, Smith said, to be expandable in the future. It currently houses nearly 320 inmates.

Those arrested by Cumming police are also housed in the jail.

It was estimated the current facility will reach capacity by 2025, at which time another tower can be built where the parking lot was recently completed along Veterans Memorial Blvd.

The laundry room and kitchen have space for additional large devices.

Currently, 108 employees work in the jail, Smith said, including 94 sworn officers and 14 civilians.