Constructed in 1896, the old Washington County Jail was touted in the newspapers as "a modern day Bastille." The old jail was closed in 1996 with the opening of the new facility.
This was a linear supervision jail. The cells were arranged in rows and stacked one on top of the other. Officers had to make constant rounds to supervise the inmates. Due to the sight lines, noise, and general design, inmate behavior was difficult to supervise. This generally created an environment where the officers controlled the corridors and inmates had de facto control of the cell areas. Contraband and conflicts were common. Also in the course of 100 years of operation, the physical structure had deteriorated. This was largely due to water damage and over crowding. View the inside of the building in the facility tour.