As a part of ongoing efforts to improve the Jackson County Detention Center, Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. today announced members of a Jail Task Force and its mission at the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2017
Contact: Marshanna Hester
Jackson County Executive announces Jail Task Force
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As a part of ongoing efforts to improve the Jackson County Detention Center, Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. today announced members of a Jail Task Force and its mission at the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City.
The Jail Task Force will independently assess Jackson County’s criminal justice system and make recommendations to reduce overcrowding, increase efficiencies and improve safety.
“The HOK study left no doubt that a substantial investment is needed,” White said. “I want to make it clear that I am not opposed to a new jail, but I have yet to be convinced that we need a bigger jail.”
The Jail 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.
Members of the Jail Task Force include:
- · John Fierro, President/CEO Mattie Rhodes Center – Co-Chair
- · Gayle Holliday, Freedom Inc. President – 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
- · State Rep. Brandon Ellington, District 22
- · Lisa Pelofsky, CEO Pelofsky & Associates
- · Mike Schumacher, Assistant to the City Manager KCMO
- · Mike Sharp, Jackson County Sheriff
- · Judge John Torrence, Presiding Judge Circuit Court Division 14
Over the course of 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.
“I look forward to serving as a co-chair of the Jail Task Force and ensuring that our County dollars are property invested,” said John Fierro, President/CEO of the Mattie Rhodes Center. “There will be tough decisions along the way, but I know we will be successful as long as we’re working together to ensure the safety of our corrections officers and detainees.”
On Wednesday, the County Executive is recommending the largest budget increase in Department of Corrections (DOC) history. It includes increasing the starting wage for corrections officers to $15/hour and issuing a $15-$20 million bond to fund emergency safety and security repairs to the jail. When White took office two years ago, Jackson County paid new corrections officers one-third less than that of its neighboring counties. His proposal aligns the County with the market pay rate.
Additionally, the County Executive is recommending funding to support a consultant, who will conduct a master plan and help oversee the work of the Jail Task Force. Members will participate in the consultant selection process.
“We appreciate all the input from all our partners in the community,” said Joe Piccinini, Department of Corrections Director. “We’re looking forward to working with the Jail Task Force and making progress to enhance the safety and security of our facilities now and in the future.”
“The public deserves a voice in this too,” White said. “Before we make such a significant investment of taxpayer dollars, we must engage our community in this discussion along with key task force stakeholders.”
The public will have the opportunity to participate in open dialogue during listening sessions to be announced at a later date. Citizens are encouraged to submit their questions, concerns and ideas for the Jail Task Force to consider by calling (816) 881-6461 or emailing email@example.com.