This week the Jackson County Legislature learned that a new detention facility ALREADY confronts major challenges and might not fulfill the needs of the local criminal justice system.
Even worse . . .
Social justice concerns from the Jackson County Executive's office have prevented officials from adjusting their plan.
Sadly, details are scant about the new facility but here's what we know so far . . .
"There are few specifics about the kind of building that will replace the current county detention facility, at 1300 Cherry St. in downtown Kansas City. Members of the legislature have been told that the detention center will hold 1,200 beds and will cost at least $266 million."
Now, here's a tragic fact that deserves consideration . . .
Consultants recommenced a facility with at least 2500 beds.
The response from the top politico at the courthouse???
Insiders warn us . . .
"Despite warnings about overcrowding, the Executive and his office don't want to build a bigger facility because they claim that will 'only serve to put more Black people in jail' and, I guess, contribute to getting more people locked up inside the system."
Perspective . . .
"I get where they're coming from . . . Nobody wants to help build the prison-industrial complex (or whatever) but that doesn't change the fact that we need more beds both now and in the future. It's really a question of providing a safe environment for inmates, law enforcement and workers."
As always, when dealing with the administration of Exec Frank White, there's frustration . . .
"We're making the same mistake that we did back when we build the downtown facility. We've doubled the number of beds and that still didn't provide enough room. The Executive and his staff aren't factoring in the cost of construction and the political will to add on to the new structure . . . The design may allow for expansion but that begs the question . . . Why start out overcrowded???"
Moreover . . .
"His point about social justice and rates of incarceration is unfair and politically motivated . . . What he's overlooking is the current overcrowded mess and how that threatens the safety of EVERYONE."
Meanwhile . . .
The Legislature will continue to review new designs and debate the final configuration of the facility.
Developing . . .