Jackson County and Kansas City have now fully consolidated jail services. Last week the county opened a new holding facility on the ground floor of the Jackson County Detention Center to house Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) arrestees awaiting arraignment.
“This is the final piece in the puzzle to regionalize correctional facilities and services between Jackson County and Kansas City,” said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. “The improvements that we have made will save county taxpayers millions of dollars.”
County, city and KCPD officials announced during a news conference today that the new holding facility began processing police arrestees Friday, May 1. The Jackson County Detention Center’s ground floor underwent renovations to accommodate up to 100 arrestees.
In the past, the KCPD held arrestees in a facility on the eighth floor of Police Headquarters in downtown Kansas City. Those holding cells had not been renovated since the building opened in 1938 and would have required $5 million or more in upgrades for continued use.
“This is a better product at a better price,” Sanders said. “Beyond that, we are providing better services for the inmates.”
The new holding facility will give arrestees a chance to access medical and mental-health services on site.
With that in mind, KCPD Chief Daryl Forte said, “For arrestees, this will be the best they have ever been treated. … We’ll treat people like citizens; like we care about them.”
“Let’s keep doing things together as a community,” he added.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the consolidation was a proactive move.
“Anyone who looks at Kansas City and thinks it’s business as usual – you’re not paying attention,” she said. “We are doing everything possible to stay ahead of the curve.”
County Executive Sanders’ support of regionalizing corrections dates back to his time as Jackson County Prosecutor. In 2009, two years into his first term as County Executive, Jackson County and Kansas City opened the Regional Correctional Center (RCC) to begin housing inmates convicted of municipal ordinance violations. The RCC is located next door to the Jackson County Detention Center tower; an underground passageway connects the two buildings. The Jackson County Corrections Department operates all three facilities.
“Taxpayers are no longer paying the county, the city and the police department to staff, operate and maintain three separate correctional facilities,” Sanders stressed. “This type of approach is how we have lowered the county budget each of the last eight years.”
The city pays the county $52.50 per day per arrestee held at the Detention Center—the same daily rate for each inmate in the RCC. The RCC houses up to 106 male and 48 female inmates.
The Detention Center renovations included:
• The conversion of a storage room to a 28-bed dormitory holding arrestees awaiting a video arraignment before a Kansas City Municipal Court judge. (Video arraignments will be conducted every day except Sunday.)
• A 20-bed dormitory, in an area that had been designated for future expansion, holding arrestees awaiting arraignment on more serious state charges.
• An 18-bed dorm for female arrestees. (About one in 10 KCPD arrestees is female.)
• Other holding cells, isolation cells and padded cells.
• The Kansas City Police Department held its arrestees in cells located on the 8th floor of its downtown headquarters at 12th and Locust. Those jail facilities had not been upgraded in the more than three-quarters of a century since the KCPD headquarters opened in 1938.
• The estimated cost of remodeling the jail during the KCPD headquarters recent renovations topped out at approximately $5 million.
• In November 2014, Jackson County and the KCPD announced an agreement to begin holding Kansas City Police arrestees in the county’s Detention Center. The ground floor of the Detention Center has been renovated—for about $819,000—to begin housing those arrestees while they await arraignment.
• This agreement represents the final piece of the puzzle in terms of regionalizing Jackson County and Kansas City, Missouri, correctional services. In 2009, the county opened the Regional Correctional Center (RCC) to house Kansas City municipal inmates. Located inside the county’s Community Justice Building, the RCC is located right next door to the Jackson County Detention Center, and the two buildings are connected via an underground tunnel.
• Opening the RCC allowed the City of Kansas City to close its Municipal Correctional Institution (MCI), which would have required an estimated $5 million in renovations to remain open. MCI also used to cost about $1 million annually to operate.
• The KCPD now processes all of its arrestees at one of three division stations: the South Patrol Division (9701 Marion Park Drive), Metro Patrol Division (7601 Prospect) and Shoal Creek Patrol Division (6801 NE Pleasant Valley Road). Those arrestees needing to be arraigned and held for 24 hours are moved to the Jackson County Detention Center.
• The ground floor of the Jackson County Detention Center was designed to be an “intake” area. As part of the county/KCPD agreement, the ground floor has undergone renovations to accommodate up to 100 arrestees.
• Once arraigned, the arrestees will either post bonds, be released on their own recognizance or be reassigned as inmates to the RCC (for those being held on Kansas City municipal charges) or to the Jackson County Detention Center (on state charges).
• The Jackson County Corrections Department staffs the Detention Center and RCC, as well as the new holding area for KCPD arrestees.