The Main Jail is an eight-story maximum security facility adjacent to the Broward County Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Built in 1985 at a cost of $41.6 million, it was originally designed to house 864 local and state inmates. In 1988 and again in 1992, capacity was expanded to 1,538 inmates. More than 400 sworn and civilian staff supervise the facility which also includes Central Intake Bureau (Booking) for all Broward County law enforcement agencies, pre-magistrate, Centralized Classification Intake assessment for all BSO detention facilities, an infirmary and administrative offices.
An all-male facility, most inmates are awaiting trial or sentencing, or are serving terms of less than one year. The inmates housed in the Main Jail are considered escape risks, violent or dangerous, or by the nature of their charges require maximum security housing. The Main Jail also includes an average of 65 juveniles awaiting trial in adult courts; they are housed separately from adult inmates.