KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Monday FOX4 reported about the proposed “Pizza and Beer Summit” – looking to hammer out a jail partnership between Jackson County and Kansas City, Missouri.
On Wednesday city leaders agreed to aggressively pursue an agreement, seeking up to 300 beds in the new Jackson County facility.
The county has already held a groundbreaking for the facility planned for a space off U.S. Highway 40. But finalized designs seem to still be up in the air with some members of the Jackson County Legislature wanting quick movement on an agreement to expand plans and include the city.
“It was a little early for the beer and pizza that I offered earlier. So I did bring donuts for everyone,” Dan Tarwater III, 4th District Jackson County Legislator, said during KCMO’s meeting of the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Operations Committee.
Speaking like a salesmen, Tarwater said each planned jail pod costs $7.5 million. Each pod would hold 64 inmates.
“We need to bring both the city and county together. It will probably save $50-$100 million because I know what your initial numbers came back at – and I know what our numbers our,” Tarwater said.
KCMO Municipal Judge Courtney Wachal said 300 beds would be a goal number for the city. She said it would allow stability for people in drug or mental health crisis as well as improved public safety.
“This past weekend, Megan Case, the administrator of corrections, had to emergency release eight people between both of our holding facilities for the municipal court. Just yesterday she had to release two inmates over the objection of our judges. Over the past two weeks she’s released 10 inmates over lack of space,” Wachal said.
“As the city grows and receives attention in the national spotlight with events such as the upcoming World Cup – this detention and rehabilitation center is a necessary enhancement for our infrastructure,” Wachal said.
What comes next? To step back from the discussion a little – next Tuesday is an election which will lead to a lot of turnover in the Jackson County Legislature. The city appears to be pushing to get something done before the start of next year when those new people come in – but some conversations with key figures in Jackson County are going to need to happen first.
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