201/225 Poplar Avenue, home of the Criminal Justice Center located in downtown Memphis, was built in 1981. The Criminal Justice Center houses the Shelby County Sheriff's Office Sheriff and Memphis Police Department’s Administrative offices, the Courts, Pretrial, Records and Identification, and the Shelby County Jail.
The Sheriff of Shelby County is responsible for the Jail, which was originally built with a housing capacity of 1,200 inmates. The jail is a six-story building with razor wire around the outside gym, administrative staff parking lot and the newly built kitchen. Cameras provide additional perimeter security for the facility. The design of the facility allows for inmates access to the General Sessions and Criminal Courts through a tunnel beneath the building.
Due to the increase in inmate population, in 1989 modifications were made to the 5th and 6th floor providing an additional 384 beds bringing the facility count to 1,584. An inmate legal room was also added during the modifications. In 1990, additional bunks were added to cells from Lower Level to the 4th floor providing additional beds, therefore double bunking the facility.
With the many additions and the modification of cells within the facility we now have a total of 2,813 beds making this facility one of the largest jails in the Criminal Justice System.
The Shelby County Jail is an accredited facility with the American Corrections Association. The average daily census for the two facilities for men and women is almost 3,000 inmates. Yearly bookings average 56,000. Male inmates are housed in downtown Memphis at 201 Poplar Avenue. The women’s facility is in east Memphis at 6201 Haley Road. The Chief Jailer and his staff provide continuous oversight of operations and daily expenses. Monthly and weekly meetings with unit managers track bookings, processing times and inmate program involvement. In accordance with the National Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA), the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) has a zero-tolerance policy relating to sexual assault, rape and sexual misconduct.