Central Intake Division Construction of the newly designed Central Intake Jail was completed in 2005. The facility is located within the 4th Ave. Jail. With a monthly average of between 7,400 and 8,900 inmates processed and an annual average of between 89,000 and 107,000, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is the fourth largest booking institute with in the country.
As the ‘gateway’ to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office jail system, Central Intake processes inmates from a multitude of Law Enforcement Agencies, ranging from; local police departments and county offices, to state and federal agencies. Because of the limited amount of time an arrestee spends in the Central Intake Jail (less than 24 hours), they are not afforded the same accommodations as those inmates housed in full custody facilities. Specifically, they are not provided regular visitation privileges, recreation, programs, and inmates are only fed sack meals.
The processing of an arrestee at Central Intake is extensive and time consuming. The booking process begins with the completion of a medical assessment to determine the medical needs an inmate may have. Utilizing a computerized booking process, an inmate’s personal information, charges, holds, a probable cause statement (utilized by the courts), personal property and monies that the prisoner was arrested with are entered into a Pre-Booking System. In addition, inmates are processed through the Immigration Customs
and Enforcement (ICE) / 287(g), by federally trained Sheriff’s Office detention officers, to verify their legal status in the United States. Additionally, inmates are photographed and fingerprinted for identification verification. All inmates with new charges must be seen in an Initial Appearance (IA) Court within twenty-four hours of arrest, as mandated by law. There are two IA courtrooms located within the Central Intake Division and are utilized by the City of Phoenix Municipal Court, Superior Court, Justice Courts and a few other municipal courts. After receiving an Initial Appearance in the IA Court, an inmate may either be processed for release from the Sheriff's custody or may be remanded to remain in custody.
If an inmate is to remain in custody, the Central Intake Division must ensure that inmate is dressed out into MCSO issued black and white stripes and interviewed by civilian personnel assigned to the Classification Division. This process incorporates the inmate’s prior booking history, institutional behavior and current charges to establish the inmate’s security level which is referred to as their classification. This classification is used to determine the inmate’s security level and where the inmate will be housed during their incarceration.
Many factors contribute to the challenging and unpredictable behaviors of those inmates who are booked into Central Intake. Many prisoners are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or have a history of mental illness when they arrive at Central Intake. Once these inmates are processed and accepted by the Sheriff’s Office, they are managed in Central Intake by detention officers and monitored by medical staff until their transition into a custody housing facility or release.
Central Intake incorporates a fully functional medical clinic located within it. Doctors, nurses and psychiatric counselors offer a variety of medical needs for inmates processing throughout the initial booking process.
With the necessity to control large numbers of both male and female inmates with various psychological, institutional and behavioral issues, Central Intake is equipped with tools which enable the staff to maintain order. There are 23 holding tanks for the majority of inmates; this is referred to as general population. There are 17 isolation cells for inmates who may need to be isolated because of the nature of their charges, for their own safety, for the safety of MCSO officers, or for medical reasons. Additionally Central Intake has 10 safe cells for inmates with severe psychological issues and are deemed to be suicidal or homicidal. The safe cells are completely padded and offer no fixtures which an inmate can harm themselves or anyone else with.
The Central Intake Division is a critical component within the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and those officers assigned to this unique and challenging duty post demonstrate on a daily basis their professionalism and dedication.