Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction
The new Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction, dedicated January 5, 2001, is a direct supervision facility of 160,000 square feet, built on 25 acres. Located at 467 Cheshire Road in Pittsfield, the facility features 288 cells divided equally among eight two-tiered housing units, or pods. Total inmate capacity is about 500.
The pod design of the new facility is dramatically different from the linear cellblocks at the old Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction on Second Street. A pod is an architectural design for a housing unit of manageable size in which two tiers of cells are positioned within the perimeter of a common dayroom. Within the pod are an officer’s station, counseling rooms and an office. A recreation deck extends from each pod.
State funding for the $39.1 million project was approved in 1996. The groundbreaking ceremony, attended by Governor A. Paul Cellucci, was held Sept. 22, 1998. Construction began in March of 1999.
This computer driven, state-of-the-art operation, with advanced security technology, replaces the old Second Street jail, which was built in 1870 by Civil War veterans. That facility adequately served the correctional demands of Berkshire County for more than 100 years, but the antiquated building became overcrowded and inadequate to host the 21st century needs of a growing inmate population. For many years, the Second Street jail operated at double its intended capacity.
Making the transition “from Civil War to Star Wars,” the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction emphasizes education and treatment programs intended to offer inmates the opportunity for self-improvement upon their release. To that end, programs include classroom and vocational education, job skills evaluation and training and substance abuse counseling and treatment.
Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center
The Berkshire County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center, located at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters at 467 Cheshire Road in Pittsfield, provides Police, Fire and EMS emergency and non-emergency communications for twenty-six communities in Berkshire, Hampshire, and Hampden counties.
After being located for many years in the basement of the Berkshire County Courthouse, the Dispatch Center moved to its new state-of-the-art facility on Cheshire Road in March of 2006.
The new facility, funded by more than $1 million from the state Executive Office of Public Safety and the Department of Homeland Security, more than doubled the Dispatch Center’s operating space. The facility offers the most modern technology to serve the 9-1-1 emergency communication needs of its member communities and any others that wish to join the network. The center handles more than 30,000 calls, including more than 3,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls, in an average year.