Kansas City and Jackson County have agreed to close the city jail, saving millions of dollars, reports the Kansas City Star. City inmates would be housed at the Jackson County Detention Center downtown or at other nearby buildings, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders announced. Some floors of the county courthouse may be used to house prisoners. Construction of a new regional facility will be necessary. The county detention facility houses about 830 inmates a day, while the city averages about 140.
The jail deal is the first of numerous cuts expected in the 2009-10 city budget. Kansas City's savings from the deal will go beyond any annual savings in operating costs at the city jail. The city would need to spend up to $7 million to improve the aged jail, which began operation in the early 1970s. Municipal Judge Joseph Locascio said a regional jail could enhance public safety as long as the current mental health, drug treatment and other services given to city inmates continued under the regional arrangement.