KANSAS CITY, Mo — Since 2014, the city of Kansas City has been housing inmates at the Regional Correctional Center, next to the Jackson County Jail.
Kansas City pays the county just over $5 million to run the facility, but that agreement will end this summer. The question now is: Where do they put the city inmates?
“So (in) June we gave them the 12 months’ notice because it costs over $110 per day to house an inmate, and they were paying approximately $57. So there needed to be some negotiations going on,” Jackson County Legislature Chairman Theresa Galvin said.
In response to that latter sent to the city ending the contract to house and care for city inmates, City Manager Troy Schulte began negotiating for city inmates to remain at the Regional Correctional Facility.
“We have gone all the way from $54 a bed to almost $72 a bed. That is a pretty big increase, and we have made that offer. Jackson County has not accepted it,” said Chris Hernandez, spokesperson for KCMO.
That would be $6.2 million for the county but still well below the $110 dollars per bed it takes to house inmates.
Galvin said she and Schulte talked about a plan to allow the city to still use the building but also run the facility. That means the city would provide the guards, the food and everything else the county has been doing.
When Galvin proposed this solution to county brass who run the jail: “The director and the sheriff adamantly want to cancel the contract,” Galvin said. “The word she used is she wants to ‘mothball that area’ because I asked, ‘What are you going to do with RCC now?’ She said she wanted to mothball it, and she said close it off, close it off and not use it at all. It takes 18 employees to run that facility, and they want to move them to the tower.”
In a statement sent to FOX4, Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte said said both city and county inmates deserve better than what they are getting now.
“I have some concerns about the facility in need of millions of dollars of repairs. Why would we rent out a facility that has been deemed unfit to house inmates because it needs numerous repairs?” Forte asked. “This is not a financial decision for the sheriff’s office. This is about the safety and security of staff, those that we are entrusting the safety of, as well as other segments of the community.”
Schulte has been working on a solution ever since he was informed of the contract cancellation. But now that negotiations have broken down, there will be an ordinance proposed to City Council on Wednesday. If passed, it will give Schulte the official OK to look elsewhere for a solution.