About how many people are being detained in the Jackson County Detention Center on a "typical" day? The "Average Daily Population" through July of 2008 was 814.
The Detention Center's inmate population is made up primarily -- 79.9 percent in 2008 -- of individuals from Jackson County. When people are detained there, the Jackson County Department of Corrections assumes custody for them, essentially taking control over all aspects of their lives. With that control comes legal obligations to provide for the inmates' housing, food, health care and safety.
It's an around-the-clock task -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year -- that involves more than 270 employees and an annual budget of $17 million. Like many of the 3,000-plus local jails across the nation, the Jackson County Detention Center, located one block from the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, is essentially an enclosed community within a community.
PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE
Jail: a place of confinement for persons held in lawful custody, specifically a place under the jurisdiction of a local government (such as a county) for the confinement of persons awaiting trial or those convicted of minor crimes.
The Merriam-Webster definition should dispel the myth that prisons and jails are one in the same. Nationwide more than 50 percent of the people detained in local jails are awaiting trial. They're presumed innocent.
At the Jackson County Detention Center, that number is even higher. Less than 10 percent of those detained in the Center are in the post-trial phase of incarceration. Among that 10 percent, many are awaiting sentencing and reassignment to other facilities, such as a state prison. Some are awaiting probation and parole hearings. A few are being held from other jurisdictions besides Jackson County.
Only those sentenced to one year or less actually serve their sentence in the County Detention Center.
On average, more than 90 percent of those in custody in the Detention Center are awaiting trial. They have been arrested and accused, but continue to have a presumption of innocence.
Only adults -- and those under 17 ruled by the courts to stand trial as adults -- are housed in the Detention Center. All juveniles are placed under the jurisdiction of the Family Court Division of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Jackson County.