BILLERICA -- With the closing of Middlesex Jail at the Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse in Cambridge Sunday, 220 detainees are now coming to the Middlesex House of Correction and Jail in town.
The Middlesex Sheriff's Office said Sunday afternoon, staff at the Cambridge location completed a two-day process transporting 220 pre-trial detainees to the Billerica facility. Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian said in a press release the relocation process was executed successfully without incident at the jail which has been in operation for 32 years.
Koutoujian added when he revisited the Cambridge location as a sheriff he realized it was "no longer a suitable facility" to use as a jail. He said his office has worked closed with the Gov. Deval Patrick's administration in the last several months, as well as with the state attorney general's office, to find a safe and secure space for the jail population.
"The Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse holds many memories for me professionally as a place where I first served as a prosecutor for the Middlesex District Attorney's Office and (as) a supervisor in the Cambridge District Court," the sherriff added. "On a personal level, it is also where I met my wife who was working as a Spanish interpreter before going onto become an attorney."
The $37 million expansion project at the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica, which started in fall 2013 and was recently completed, includes a new two-story, prefabricated concrete pod with 256 beds and a one-story dormitory with 240 beds which will accommodate the incoming detainees.
The additional 496 beds at the facility are temporary, Middlesex Koutoujian said previously. He stressed the presence of pretrial detainees in Billerica will be used until officials find a suitable 5-acre site to build the planned Southern Middlesex Justice Center. In a statement Sunday, Koutoujian said that remains a priority.
"Today, the Sullivan Courthouse becomes part of our storied past," he said, "but our efforts to recreate the judicial efficiency that once existed there has just begun."
Officials say they're looking to reestablish a new justice complex similar to the Sullivan site in the southern portion of Middlesex County where 12 out of 14 courts are located.
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