The Greene County Commission has announced maximum security temporary structures will be placed next to the current overcrowded county jail by November.
This is a new way Greene County has found to improve efficiency and keep inmates from having to be transported to other county jails.
“It’s a temporary, short-term small fix,” said Presiding County Commissioner Bob Cirtin. “It’s not going to solve the problem by any stretch of the imagination.”
But the commission and sheriff’s office continue stretching their imagination to try and find a solution.
“We’re trying to be innovative, think outside the box,” he said.
The county signed a contract with All Detainment Solutions in Seymour, Missouri, which will assemble the structures to house up to 108 Greene County inmates.
The temporary structures will be placed in this parking lot east of the jail. They will be surrounded by a ten-foot tall fence with razor wire attached to the top. The structures will include sleeping, eating and gathering spaces, their own bathrooms, and showers. The main jail facility will still be used for medical and mental health care, and laundry.
Cirtin says it will be a maximum security facility and will meet the standards held by the Greene County jail in terms of security.
The Greene County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement when it comes to safety “this is no different than an expansion to the existing facility.”
Right now the county sends about 190 inmates a day to other counties. In 2016, the county budgeted $450,000 for that out-of-county housing but ended up spending $1.2 million.
This year, Cirtin says the check is getting close to $2 million.
The new structures will cost $873,000 per year for the first three years plus operational costs which are yet to be determined. but Cirtin says while it’s not yet clear if the move will save the county money, it will be more efficient and is a proactive decision because other county jails are also filling up quickly.
“We will have inmates right next to the courts,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot more efficient, a lot less travel, a lot less possibility of accidents and things like that.”
The temporary structures will be used until the county is able to permanently add on to the existing jail. And that will depend on whether or not a sales tax is put on the ballot in November and passes.
“If we are able to have the revenue to be able to add on to the jail or have another jail structure, [the structures] will be temporary,” he said. “But still it’s probably going to be three, four, maybe in five years.”
The Commission decides next week whether or not that tax will be put on the ballot.
Cirtin says the Sheriff’s Office just signed a contract to send inmates to Cole County and the next option is Cape Girardeau. But he hopes this temporary facility will keep that from happening.
About 40 parking spaces that are now reserved for county officials in that parking lot will have to be moved elsewhere on campus.
“It won’t be quite as convenient as we have it right outside our door, but that’s OK,” said Cirtin. “We are willing to make those sacrifices.”
ByJenifer Abreu | Ozarks First