Jail Task Force

Jail Task Force Press Conference“As a part of our ongoing efforts to improve the Jackson County Detention Center,
I am pleased to announce the formation of a Jail Task Force… My goal is to build on the success
of the 2015 task force and allow elected officials and citizens to lead this effort,
which will shape how we move forward." - County Executive Frank White, Jr.

Jackson County Jail Task Force Background & Overview


Several factors have led to the tipping point where major capital expenditures are necessary for the four buildings of the Jackson County Department of Corrections Complex to perform safely for the public, inmates and staff. One major contributing factor for deterioration is more than 30 years of deferred maintenance.

A nearly 450-page condition assessment by consulting firm by Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK) determined that the outdated design and functionality of the facilities make them inherently inadequate and deficient, thus failing to meet new building codes and detention center guidelines. Even with an estimated $150 million investment to conduct a full renovation, HOK said the facility would still be more than 30 years behind current detention standards.  Additionally, overcrowding, understaffing and low wages have contributed to growing concerns at the detention center complex.

HOK’s facility assessment recommended that Jackson County should pursue a new corrections facility to serve the community. A new single story 1,000-bed correction facility (15 acres) is estimated to cost approximately $150-$180 million.

There is no denying that tough decisions will have to be made. There is no denying that moving forward first requires a holistic analysis of our community’s detention facilities and criminal justice system.


As part of our on-going efforts to improve Jackson County’s jail facility, County Executive Frank White, Jr. has created a Task Force to independently assess Jackson County’s criminal justice system and make recommendations to reduce overcrowding, increase efficiencies and improve safety.

The Task Force will be asked to analyze, in part, the following primary issues:

•Current maintenance and staffing costs
•Current and future capacity needs
•Regional cooperation
•Recidivism prevention measures
•Alternatives to incarceration
•New facility construction vs. Current facility renovation

Understanding these issues will help the Task Force make recommendations to Jackson County that outline short and long-term sustainability options.

Over the course of next six months, the Jail Task Force will conduct its analysis and provide information to the County Executive and the County Legislature. At the conclusion of six months, the Jail Task Force will provide a comprehensive report on its findings and recommendations.

Jail Task Force Members
Gayle Holliday, Freedom Inc. President - Co-chair
John Fierro, President/CEO, Mattie Rhodes Center - Co-chair
Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County Prosecutor
Alvin Brooks, Community Activist
Scott Burnett, Jackson County Legislature Chairman
Alissia Canady, KCMO City Councilwoman, 5th District
Carol Coe, Lawyer/Former County Legislator/Former City Councilwoman
Karen Curls, MCC Division of Social Science Chair
Niki Lee Donawa, TMC Chief Community Relations Officer
Missouri State Representative Brandon Ellington, District 22
Lisa Pelofsky, CEO Pelofsky & Associates
Mike Schumacher, Assistant to the City Manager KCMO
Mike Sharp, Jackson County Sheriff
Katheryn Shields, KCMO City Councilwoman, 4th District At-Large
Judge John Torrence, Presiding Judge, Circuit Court Division 14


Our community should have:

•An economical, efficient and smart local justice system that reflects our values of fairness, compassion and good governance;
•A system of pre-trial detention that effectively prioritizes public safety through data-informed and evidence-based practices;
•Detention facilities that are safe and humane for both staff and inmates

It’s essential that our community have a voice in this development process. The public will have an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion with the Jail Task Force and the County Executive during listening sessions. Citizens will be encouraged to share their concerns, questions and ideas for the Jail Task Force to consider.

Please contact the Jail Task Force by calling (816) 881-6461 or by email at jailtaskforce@jacksongov.org.