Ford County Jail


In need of a facility that would blend law enforcement history with an agriculturally based community, Dodge City wanted a new sheriff’s office and jail to support a mix of direct and indirect supervision styles. Project costs also needed to stay under a certain cap without sacrificing essential features.


Working closely with Ford County and its citizens committee, a Shive-Hattery designer (while working for another firm) evaluated multiple sites, including a local warehouse, and prepared materials for a public awareness campaign.

The resulting new Ford County Jail is a 256-bed jail with a sheriff’s office, designed to allow for an expansion of up to 500 beds. The jail uses open, raised control posts in the satellite housing central stations that are designed to protect officers while still offering direct control and supervision of housing and circulation areas. The design allows each control center to be under the direct visual observation of at least two other control posts at all times, improving facility security without increasing staff.

Precast modules were used for cell construction to reduce construction time. As a result, the project was completed several months ahead of schedule. This offered Ford County significant savings by decreasing the costs associated with housing inmates in other counties during the project.

Inmate movement is reduced through individual programming and recreation space for each housing pod, along with video visitation technology. Inmates only need to leave housing pods for court or medical services. Individual cells are sized for double-bunking capabilities, and day rooms are sized according to American Correctional Association standards.

The jail features a small juvenile holding area that maintains sight and sound separation, a negative air pressure medical unit, male and female work release areas with separate entrances from the general population, and a distinct dress out and release path that doesn’t cross traffic with intake and booking.

While the facility incorporates the latest detention technology and design, its two-story public lobby recognizes local law enforcement history with a silkscreen wallcovering that showcases images of Dodge City during its Wild West days, including notable figures from the area like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.


The Ford County Jail combines Dodge City’s law enforcement history with state-of-the-art security technology and detention planning and design. The new sheriff’s office and jail provide protection for staff, inmates and community members.
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