The Jackson County Jail closed a year and a half ago, but one person's passion to help others is giving the jail a new purpose. The jail in Newport is being turned into a shelter for homeless and domestic violence victims. It's called the White River Women's Shelter and is split into two sections as a domestic violence house and transition house.
Bridget Hendrix is a former Newport police officer who often worked domestic violence cases
"The communities need it, Jackson county, Randolph, other counties need it too," Hendrix said.
The sheriff and mayor agreed, providing the $864,000 building for free.
"This building just kind of fell in our lap," Hendrix said. “The sheriff left us 42 cameras and they're all in the communal areas of the facility."
With room to sleep nearly 30 people including a room LGBTQ guests, the shelter will offer mental health, sexual assault and child advocacy.
The jail cells will be renovated into bedrooms.
"We want to soften it up as a room so all the metal will be coming off the ceiling and walls,” Hendrix said.
Each of the 60 rooms is specially named in memory or in honor of someone.
"There's a lot of history in here, a lot of history,” Hendrix said as he showed us a room named after Lt. Patrick Weatherford who was killed in the line of duty in June 2017. “He was my rookie, my cadet.”
The goal is to help people however they need to get them back on their feet and giving them the support to feel empowered and independent.
“Its advocacy, what do you need and how can we help you get it and let us gently guide you to reach those goals," Hendrix said.
Construction will begin on the jail cells any day now and once it starts, it should be three months until the shelter is ready to open.