A Step Toward A Regional Detention Center
County and Kansas City Reveal
Details About Regional Agreement
FEBRUARY 19, 2009 -- Describing it as a "win-win situation," Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders joined Kansas City Councilwoman Cathy Jolly (6th District) in unveiling details about a written agreement allowing the City to close it Municipal Correctional Institution by housing its inmates inside the County Detention Center. At the Jackson County Legislature's regular meeting February 17, Sanders indicated that the agreement is intended to be short-term, but represents a step toward the long-term solution of building a new regional detention center.
The Kansas City Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee recommended a City ordinance formally adopting a memorandum of understanding to the full Kansas City Council, which will consider it today. The memorandum of understanding would be a preliminary agreement in which the City and County agree to start the process of detailed negotiations.
The final agreement may permit Kansas City to save approximately $5 million, the estimated cost of rehabilitating its city-operated jail. However, the City will pay the County a set fee per inmate per day, with about 150 beds being needed for the City inmates. Due to the cost-savings associated with consolidating more jail-related expenses, such as medical care and inmate programs, additional agreements between the County and other Jackson County municipalities are likely.
"The long-range solution is construction of a new facility that would serve the whole region," said Sanders, who has taken a lead role in advocating the development of a regional detention center since he was Jackson County Prosecutor.
Jackson County Detention Center
Community Justice Building
Inmates formerly housed in the Municipal Correctional Institution (municipal detainees) would be separated from those in the County Detention Center (individuals accused or convicted of state offenses).
If the agreement with Kansas City goes forward as drafted, Jackson County would provide basic services for these inmates, including housing, food and property management.
The County plans to intake these municipal inmates on the ground floor of the County Detention Center and house them on the third and fourth floors of the Community Justice Building, located on Locust Street in Kansas City and connected to the County Detention Center on Cherry Street. The agreement requires appropriately rehabilitating these floors of the Community Justice Building.
"This will be a jail within a jail concept," Sanders explained.
Kansas City remains responsible for transporting its prisoners to and from court, as well as for other court-ordered programs and services.
The County is also discussing, with Kansas City Police Department officials, the possibility of holding short-term inmates at the Detention Center, rather than at police headquarters.