Justice with Dignity
In order to provide for the public safety of the citizens of Jackson County, it is sometimes necessary to detain and house those who may harm themselves or others in the County Jail. Most of these individuals are awaiting trial, sentencing, or, if sentenced, incarceration at state institutions.
Jackson County will meet the community’s needs by planning and building a detention center that is safe, secure, efficient to operate, and incorporates thoughtfully designed long-term solutions for the Jackson County Justice System.
One of the key elements of planning, building, and operating a detention center, is respecting the dignity of detained individuals. To accomplish this, the facility will provide evidence-based treatment and training opportunities that address the needs of the individual and the underlying causes of criminal behavior.
Overcrowding and deteriorating facilities require the need for an upgraded Jackson County Detention Center. With a new facility comes a new approach.
Jackson County has established a multi-phase plan to support the planning, design, construction, and activation of a new jail facility for its citizens.
The new facility will institute best management practices, and a safe environment for detainees, visitors, and employees. It will include educational resources and social services programs—all aimed at making our community better by reducing relapse into criminal behavior and helping to encourage productive members of society.
Projected Detainee Population
Validation of Need
The first phase of the plan focuses on defining the needs of the facility. Needs will be determined by evaluating previous studies and collecting information from the existing facility. The research will then be condensed into a report that outlines the best data for understanding the long-term capacity requirements for the Jackson County jail system capacity needs.
The Programming Phase guides county officials in the preparation of a new jail design that will accurately meet the goals, objectives, and conditions for both the immediate and future needs of the county. JCDC Partners has developed a programming strategy to review the main facility components of a new detention center and to discuss the current facility and operational state, trends and benchmarks, and desired future operational state and associated space needs. In essence, the programming document determines how the facility is built.
In the process of developing the programming strategy, over 20 bi-weekly virtual program sessions were conducted between April and June 2020 with stakeholders that included the Steering Committee, county representatives, and sheriff’s staff. Three case studies of detention facilities across the nation were conducted in conjunction with the programming sessions to review best practices for intake/transfer/release facilities, medical and mental health, and housing alternatives.
The detention center facility location will be based on the long-term needs of the Jackson County Justice System as informed by the validation of need and programming phases of the project. A formalized process based on the following criteria has been implemented to best determine the site’s location:
At least 50 acres without underlying concerns (poor soil, wetland, or environmental issues) that may increase the cost of site development.
A travel-time distance of 20-30 minutes between the site and the Downtown and Independence Courthouses, and Truman Medical Center.
- Ease of highway or arterial access and other forms of transportation including the bus line and transit opportunities.
- A surrounding area deemed safe and visible, with limited adjacent residential areas or other sensitive land use.
- Availability to adjacent public and private utilities (sewer, power, gas, telephone/data).
- Preferable unincorporated property in Jackson County that is convenient for commuters, staff and the public.
- The site must allow for efficient and cost-effective facility operations.
An in-depth evaluation will help determine the best construction approach based on the financial and project management strategy. How the project is to be procured and developed should be decided by the beginning of 2021.
Once preliminary planning is completed, the County, along with its financial advisors, will evaluate the most efficient and cost-effective manner to pay for the new detention center.