History of the Allen County Jail
The idea of building a Jail suggested itself to the Allen County Commissioners in October of 1831, when they appointed Sheriff Henry Lippencott to prepare plans for fixing some place of confinement for Uri Martin, under arrest as an insane person.
The construction contract read “The Jail, to be composed of timber 12 inches thick. The walls, 14 feet long. The walls to be solid. The upper story to be 9 inches thick. Each story to be 7 feet high. The building to be roofed with lap shingles, to show one foot to the weather. One window in each story of six panes, 8” X 10” with bars one inch square, three inches apart. The builder to furnish all materials except the locks. Payment to be made when the work is completed.”
A contact was entered into with David Tracy, July 1, 1833 to erect the building for $179.00, to be located on the north east corner of lot #88, in the town of Lima, Allen County, Ohio. The building was to be completed by November 11, 1833.
In 1870 construction began on a new Allen County Courthouse, located on the northwest corner of North and Main Streets in Lima, Ohio. In addition to the Courthouse, a small two story brick German style building was built at 133 W. North Street, which became the residence of the Sheriff of Allen County. When elected, the Sheriff was allowed to move into this residence along with his family. This residence had an attachment to the Allen County Jail. A small makeshift office was also located towards the rear of the residence which allowed the sitting Sheriff to conduct his business affairs, without disturbing the rest of the family. Also, as custom, the Sheriff’s wife would become matron of the jail, taking care of all female inmates and also preparing meals for all inmates incarcerated within the Allen County Jail.
Approximately eighty years later, circa 1960, major renovations were started to the Allen County Jail. Since the notorious incident of the murder of Sheriff Jess L. Sarber and the escape of John Dillinger in 1933, the Allen County Jail was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Because of this fact the exterior of the building could be changed, but major security issues need to be addresses. The architect came up with an ingenious plan to renovate the inside of the building without disturbing the exterior of the building. The flat roof of the jail was removed and the insides of the building were removed through the roof of the building. Renovations were completed and another flat roof was added to the top of the jail. A total of sixty (60) inmates could be housed at one time in this facility. Along with this renovation, the old Sheriff’s residence was raised and modern (1950’s style) two-story building was added to the front grounds of the jail. This Sheriff’s Office and Jail remained this way until 1989 when ground was broken for a new justice center, housing the Common Pleas Courts, the Allen County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Allen County Jail.
In May of 1990, the new Allen County Justice Center was dedicated and opened for business. The new Allen County Jail touted a state of the art correctional facility. Its modern design of campus lifestyle with direct and indirect supervision was second to none. It is virtually a “keyless” facility with a main control room personnel acting much like an air traffic controller in a modern airport, allowing access to secured areas of the facility. This Correctional Center was planned to house no more than two hundred and ten inmates at one time, almost triple from the previous Jail. Because of this influx of inmates, a correctional officer staff was added to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. An initial total of 35 officers were added to the staff of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. We are very grateful to those citizens of Allen County who supported the effort to modernize the Allen County Jail, and its’ correctional office programs.
Prisoners may receive (2) visits weekly with a maximum of (5) persons including children. Each visit is (20) minutes in length. A parent or legal guardian must accompany juveniles (persons under the age of 18). All visitors must wear shirts and shoes, and clothing that is suitable for street wear. Tube tops, see through tops, and low cut tops are prohibited. No clothing combination that reveals the midsection is permitted.
ALL VISITORS MUST BE SIGNED IN 15 MINUTES PRIOR TO THEIR SCHEDULED VISIT
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All inmates are responsible for notifying their visitors of any change in their visitation status.
Visitation staff may refuse a visitor if:
- The visitor is not on the inmate’s visitation card.
- The visitor appears to be intoxicated.
- The visitor violates the dress code.
- The visitor is not signed in at least (15) minutes before the scheduled visit.
- Visitor is believed to pose a threat to the mental health of the prisoner and/or is disrespectful to visitation staff.
Prisoners may receive letters, greeting cards and money orders through the mail. All incoming prisoner mail is opened and searched for contraband. Prisoners may receive no more than (4) photos at a time. Any letter or card that contains contraband will be returned to sender.
In Care of the Allen County Jail
P.O. Box 1243
Lima, OH 45801
Money orders for prisoner commissary accounts must be mailed in. No cash or personal checks will be accepted. Put the prisoner’s name and birth date on the money order. No commissary funds will be accepted during visitation
Bond may be posted 24 hours a day 7 days a week at window (3) located in the Sheriff’s Office lobby.
Call 419-993-1407 for bond information, or general prisoner information.
For general prisoner information, call 419-227-3535.
Eligible prisoners can take advantage of several programs offered at the jail by contacting the social service staff. Some programs available include (5) hours of physical exercise each week in the form of basketball, jogging, or calisthenics.
Male and female anger management
Male and female AA/NA
The jail supplies paperback books and magazines to prisoners upon request. Most books are donated by the public. If you are interested in donating paperback books, contact 419-223-8575.
Prisoner Work Program
E ligible prisoners who are sentenced misdemeanors can apply for the work program. There are two forms of prisoner work details, one for inside workers, and the other for outside community based work. The outside prisoner work program saves the county money and brings a sense of worth and belonging to the prisoner providing the labor. The outside work program limits the availability of prisoner labor to local government agencies such as the Fairgrounds, Engineers Office, Townships, Law Enforcement Agencies, etc.
Inmate Health Care
The Medical services department is responsible for providing medical, dental, and mental health services to prisoners housed at the jail. Quality health care is provided in accordance with the Minimum standards for Jails in Ohio, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. The Medical Services Department has been accredited by the NCCHC since 1996. Medical and emergency health care are available 24-hous a day (7) days a week , with a combination of medical professionals including Registered nurses, LPN’s, EMT’s, physician, and dentist.
Physician level sick call is conducted (3) days a week, and dental services monthly.
Mental health services are provided in house with psychiatric care provided as needs necessitate.
Additional services include screening for tuberculosis, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, lab and x-ray services.
Licensed mental health counselors are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Mental health services include a screening during reception, and a complete mental health evaluation within 14 days of confinement. Suicide prevention and crisis intervention are on going.
A dentist visits the jail monthly and provides an x-ray machine, x-ray developer and autoclave for sterilizing instruments. The dentist treats abscessed teeth and periodontal disease, and extracts teeth that can not be saved.
Because of medical HIPPA laws, the jails medical staff are prohibited from providing prisoner medical information, or discussing prisoner history, or treatment, to friends, family members, attorney’s, or clergy.