OLATHE, Kan. — If you have a loved one at the Johnson County Jail, you won’t be able to see them for a while.
Visitation at the Olathe facility has been suspended, but only temporarily as work is being done on the old, out-of-date building.
“I don’t get to see my sister until April,” said Pamela Meyers, who drove from Neosho, Missouri, with her brother Anthony to visit their sister.
“We explained that we just drove 3 hours out of our way to see our sissy, you know. He just blew it off like it was nothing, said, ‘Oh well, that’s not my problem.’ That kind of hurt,” Meyers said.
The Johnson County jail administration sent this statement:
“Due to facility needs and in order to meet ADA compliance guidelines, the visitation elevator located at our Central Booking Facility is currently out of service until April 24, 2020.
“This construction began January 6, 2020, and during that time period, there will be no public visitation. Normal visitation will resume upon completion of the project. There are no public stairs with access to the visitation area.
“We understand this may cause some inconveniences for the public, but we are asking for their understanding and cooperation during this process to improve the safety and security of our facility.”
“They claim that it’s out of their hands and all this stuff, but they couldn’t give us a legitimate reason why they couldn’t have an alternative to the visits,” Anthony Meyers said.
Jail administrators said there is a staircase but public access is not allowed. It’s used as a fire exit for inmates and could be a security risk. Getting the public to the visitation area without use of the elevator is logistically not possible, they said.
“It’s kind of like they’re holding her hostage from us, you know? Not only her but every other inmate in there,” Meyers said.
Visitors who want to communicate with an inmate can still come to the jail and talk to inmates on the phone. There’s just no face-to-face visitation until construction is complete.